Here are 19 red flags to watch out for so that you can promptly address them and ensure healthy and sustainable growth for your company.
Pause and look at your culture. If the company starts to feel and look as if it has either moved away from its core culture or that the employees are confused by it, that is a sure sign that it is time to slow down and reassess. Growth is great but growing without an aligned culture will hurt more than not hiring enough people. Get ahead of your culture before it gets ahead of you. – Brooks E. Scott, Merging Path Coaching
A lack of process is a good sign that the company has outgrown its current cycle. If the processes are the same as those for a small business, and not for a scaling business, this is normally a good sign of this problem. – Andrew Constable, Visualise Solutions
One way to tell if your company is growing too quickly is to continually assess the quality of service through customer feedback. If established quality standards are not where you expect them to be, that is an indicator that you need to address. – Brent McHugh, Christar International
The first marker that your company is growing too quickly is when your experienced hires aren’t clear on how to be successful and don’t know what their decision rights and success metrics are. If you have employees wondering, “How do I succeed here? I’m not feeling successful,” then you’re moving too fast and not taking the time needed to clearly define roles and integrate new hires. – Andrew Blum, The Trium Group
You may be growing too quickly if you’re stretching your resources (cash, people, service and quality) beyond your normal standards of excellence. Sometimes it’s better to slow down, assess your situation and ensure that you are giving a first-class service to clients while upgrading for the long-term. – Jay McDonald, Middleton McDonald Group, Inc.
It’s less a question of whether or not you are growing too quickly and more a question of, “Do we have the systems set up to manage and support our growth?” Businesses make the mistake of thinking they can wait to build systems until they need them. By the time you need the systems, it’s too late to build them! So, check your systems and ask yourself, “What will break if we grow?” – Debra Russell, Debra Russell Coaching, LLC.
Does your company emphasize company culture? If so, when rapid growth keeps you from “touching” every employee on a regular basis, they may lose sight of it. Invest time in creating cultural ambassadors. Develop their passion for the culture and charge them with carrying the culture banner throughout the company. That way, employees will be reminded to walk the company culture talk. – Ron Young, Trove, Inc.
As a business owner, I have learned not to take on business that we can’t handle. It’s not good for business when you overload your employees and make promises to clients that are impossible to complete. It’s very hard to turn business away; however, proper planning and staffing are key to accommodating growth. – Barbara Adams, CareerPro Global, Inc.
Customer promises going unfulfilled is a sign of too-rapid growth. More clarity and structure are needed to balance the entrepreneurial spirit with systems and routines. Vision, values, organizational structure, metrics, meeting routines and agendas—all these components, when well-defined and well-practiced, help support rapid growth, jumpstart accountability and provide focus and clarity to a growing team. – Sheryl Lyons, Culture Spark LLC
Morale is elevated when employees feel that the company has their back or is investing in them. Invest in team coaching. Surfacing the good, the bad and the ugly on the team allows a team to heal, grow, bond and perform at its best. Give your people the opportunity to live and lead at their best by helping them grow as a team. – David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching, LLC
Fast-growing companies are so exciting to work for until the proverbial wheels come off the bus. This likely will happen when you reach 20, 30 or 40 people. Here are indicators that you are growing too fast: People are quitting, gossiping, feeling frustrated or bitter, working nine-plus hours a day, being unusually reticent in meetings and not getting tasks completed in time. – Natasha Ganem, Lion Leadership
When you see a downturn in innovative ideas, that could be a sign that your staff is too busy trying to keep up with the frantic pace to be creative. Because innovation only comes when we allow our brain’s task-positive network to breathe, too much work will stifle a promising idea every time. If creativity has dried up, it’s time to develop a better support system for your growth. – Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
When speed accelerates, skill and scale are at risk. You should look out for a false sense of complacency and ego and an overestimation of your own capabilities as potential “yellow lights” in your growth journey, signaling that you need to slow down. Feedback is the breakfast of champions: Gaining feedback will help you address the blind spots in your growth journey. – Venkataraman Subramanyan, Tripura Multinational
One thing we see in our work with growth companies is the proliferation of subpar middle management. As growth progresses, there is often a race to hire. This is understandable; however, almost without fail, we see subjective decisions to “fill the gap” overtake wise hiring decisions. This trade-off can eventually cost the company millions in the over hiring or rehiring of bad managers. – Henryk Krajewski, Worxera, Inc.
Deadlines are getting missed. Turnover is increasing. There are more fires to put out than proactivity happening. Employees are burning out. Many signs can signal that you are moving too fast and not staying grounded, clear and focused with your team. Growth is great, but not at a cost to your team’s performance, which is a price you didn’t expect to pay that causes long-term decreases in profit. We don’t want that! – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport
If your business is spending money faster than its coming in, you may be growing too fast, or additional operating capital is needed or you’re in big trouble (or on your way there)! The result of rapid expansion is cash flow problems for a business, as expanding businesses incur growing costs. As a business grows, so do its expenses, and if you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, you’ll most likely have to borrow, which is never a good decision. It is ideal for a startup to be self-sustaining, which means that revenue should cover all business costs. Michael Cagle, Vision Business Services
In many cases, businesses that grow too quickly are unable to keep up with their increased demand for raw materials and other resources crucial for the functioning and running of your company. You may want to consider adding to your list of suppliers or get in touch with suppliers who may be able to better suit your needs in such cases. With limited or no raw materials and supplies being available, companies are buying from 2nd and 3rd tier vendors just to keep plants and the wheels rolling. This usually either
requires equipment changes, person-hours to re-tool, etc., Then with quality and processes needed to run these raw materials and training can cause major quality issues. Michael Cagle, Vision Business Services
During a recovering pandemic economy and the potential of a slower economic conditions with skyrocketing gas and fuel prices, what do you do? Do you continue with growth, or do you reel it back in and see how the economy does? Are we headed for a major recessionary period or just a correction in the market economy? This can also disrupt your business processes and systems in a completely redundant way, both good and bad. Your business may be doomed if you do not have the proper strategy. The answer is not simple or cut in stone since it all depends on a range of factors: Like, industry, market position, management, accurate business plan, vision and many more. The answer is: It varies by company. Contact me for solutions. Michael Cagle, Vision Business Services
So, let’s face it, supply is falling behind demand, and so is the price of goods. The biggest warning sign for expanding businesses is when they prioritize quantity over quality. You will lose customers because of this shift in priorities. The key to any successful business is to focus on quality and value for money. Michael Cagle, Vision Business Services