In the world of small businesses and startups, it’s no secret that growing your business is the ultimate goal. While on this mission to broaden your business, many SMBs experience growing pains that hold them back from doing so smoothly. Unfortunately, these growing pains are common and are often a sign that internal systems haven’t been developed enough to successfully take the next step. Some of these growing pains are more common than others, and therefore can be easier for your business to prepare for if you know what the signs are and how to prevent them from happening.
To help mitigate a handful of these woes, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly experienced challenges to scaling up your business, along with tips to overcome them. If your business is looking to grow and any of these obstacles look familiar, follow the action suggested to address problems before these issues get out of hand.
Absence of Direction
While a lack of direction is an issue that faces businesses of all sizes, it’s especially detrimental for smaller organizations. Whether it occurs because of immediate obstacles that occupy the majority of employee time or because upper leadership fails to articulate the direction and vision of the company, staff members often begin to feel that they’re simply spinning their tires. When they start to feel this way it can cause larger morale issues, a lack of interest in continued growth at your company, and ultimately the need to look for employment elsewhere that provides them with a sense of purpose.
If you fear that your employees are starting to feel a lack of direction, try to mitigate this concern by getting everyone involved with company objectives and direction. By creating a company-wide strategic plan, you can avoid these issues by gathering everyone’s insights to create department-specific short- and long-term goals. Not only will this help every employee to understand the goals, but it will also help them realize how their specific role and department helps contribute to the greater picture.
Lack of Communication
When it comes to managing a small business, lack of communication is a common and detrimental problem to face. Internal communication strategies are a critical asset for hitting deadlines and achieving the success you desire. Lack of proper communication is where important messages get lost in translation (literally) and leave employees feeling out of the loop and unimportant. And as your business tries to expand and bring on more individuals, a small communication problem will only grow and leave more people confused and working in circles.
If you’ve found that communication is a downfall for your growing business, an easy solution is to consolidate your communication tools. If you provide your entire employee base with a set of tools that keep their conversations in one localized place, messages will be lost less frequently. Whether your employees prefer chat platforms, video conferencing, traditional phone calls or email, a unified communications platform will streamline all conversations. Unlike other business communication applications, which often perform similar or identical functions and can actually complicate your day-to-day, UCaaS platforms keep communication all in one application, which helps keep your teams on the same page while trying to reach deadlines. And by working together, not only will your projects be completed more easily, but your employees will also feel more included in working toward one universal goal.
While your company may have numerous people with the title “manager,” it may not have many prepared managers. Issues arise when your leaders complain about having responsibility but no authority, and their subordinates complain about a lack of direction and feedback from their managers. This problem may have arisen from your company promoting successful employees to managers, but not giving them the training or advice they need to fill the requirements of their new role. Managerial success requires a set of different skills than these employees mastered in their previous positions, and without proper training, these individuals will fail.
When building up your staff, it’s important for your company to devote sufficient resources to developing managerial talent from within. You can go about this by establishing a formal management development program where your new managers will learn the necessary skills for their transition, and groom them moving forward as well. Building a culture within your company where your leaders are expected to take part in the development of new managers can help both parties grow personally and professionally while also helping your company achieve its overarching goals.
As your business grows and matures, facing growing pains is inevitable. But if you step up to the plate knowing what to expect and how to deal with these common challenges, these issues will appear much less daunting. Ensure that you and your team are headed in a common direction. Have the right communication practices and tools, along with prepared leaders, and you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors.
What other common growing pains has your business faced?