Written by Mike Gruley
Good news! Your business is growing, and you’re frustrated and pissed-off and tired and angry. When the business was brand-new and you were the only one in charge, life was simple. If you worked hard, you could manage the books, make the product, distribute it to the ten customers, and plan for the future all by yourself.
Now, business is great and you’re selling more product than you ever dreamed of. This is great news. You’re in the game now! It’s easy to have a business with no customers, but it’s much harder to manage a business with increasing demand and a quickly-expanding customer base. However, if you’re currently in this position, you’ll know the truth of this statement: It’s incredibly rare that growth doesn’t cause growing pains.
Take Example A: Just last week, clothing rental startup Rent The Runway (valued at $1 billion dollars) headlined the WSJ . Why? They’re growing too fast and their infrastructure can’t keep up. With so many customers, they need to figure out how to maintain effective customer service and product availability. Like many entrepreneur-led businesses, RTR began with a group of tacticians who were really good at what they do. In this case, it was selling clothes via subscription model, but the same idea applies to any entrepreneur with a specific idea or talent. As the business grows, it continually requires people with different skill sets than that particular tactician has.
Sound familiar? You aren’t alone. Here’s exactly what to do when this happens.
Step #1: Embrace the frustration. If you’re a victim of your own success, that’s a great thing. No matter what problem you’re facing, it’s a better problem to have than the problem of no customers.
Step #2: Make a plan to fix it. When you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling where your own capacity, or the capacity of your team, doesn’t feel like enough, listen to that. You can’t stay this way because you’ll either burn out, flat line, or collapse. What you need to find is a way to get what you want from your business. Sometimes that means insane profit; sometimes that means enough profit to give you a life where you have time to do non-business related things and play golf when you want to. Every business is different.
Step #3: Ask for help. This is what EOS does; we help business owners let go of the vine. If you’re the best pizza guy in town, you need to find someone else to help you make pizzas so that you can focus on what else the business needs to grow. Delegate the tasks that are not in your core competency and stick to only what your unique,singular talent is. It is what got you to this point.
When I worked on my own business, someone had to help me. I couldn’t do it alone. My rule of thumb was that if someone else could do the thing I’m doing at least 80% as well as I could, I let go and delegated it. This was also the rule for all managers. Don’t micromanage your people; manage your systems and processes. It’s a matter of figuring out what you do best, and what you love to do. Then, you’ll find your sweet spot and say goodbye to the growing pains.
If this sounds familiar, or you know a business owner going through their own growing pains, shoot me an email or a phone call anytime. I’d love to chat about how to make life better and ensure that your business is giving you exactly what you want and need, in the office and out.