When success can ruin your business

Content provided by a guest contributor.

All businesses strive for success. However, growth needs to be managed. If you don’t have the right structure in place, rapid growth can actually undermine all the good work you’ve been doing, and make your business fall flat.

There’s an interesting account here of how a tech start-up quickly rose to become one of the biggest hand-held device manufacturers in the world, with annual sales tipping the charts in the billions. However, they are now regarded as a “one-trick pony whose time has come and gone”. The inner processes of the company became a convoluted mess with no one knowing who was responsible for what, and potential deals got lost in bureaucratic red tape.

You need a plan. You need infrastructure. Don’t wait until your sales start to soar before you consider how to accommodate your business’ growth.

Job descriptions need to be well defined. In a small organisation with just a few people, you can get away with having vague, overlapping job descriptions. The larger your business gets, however, the more important it is that everyone is clear on exactly what it is that their role in the company is, and who is responsible for what.

Communication channels should be clear and open at all times. When a business grows, there are going to be more processes at play. There will be more departments, more employees, and more projects. If the internal communication is poor, things will start to fall apart. The organisational structure also needs to be well-defined so that everyone knows who to report to and when.

Outside help will sometimes be something you need to consider. Outsourcing certain processes of your business, especially when trying to manage your growth, can be a tremendous help. You’ll get help from an already established entity, while you come to terms with the changes in your organisation.  Also, don’t be scared to get industry experts on board to help manage aspects of the business.

A complex system that is undergoing change is going to have an element of chaos. However, it’s important that you manage that change as organised chaos. Organisational development of a business system is the management of that apparent chaos. Basically, this means that you need to find a balance between flexibility and stability. So you want to be flexible, but not so flexible that established patters fall completely to the side. To keep the chaos in check, it helps to have project managers on board.

During this period, your business needs to be adaptable. But you also need to be able to keep that state of flux in check – even if it means slowing down your growth in order for your infrastructure to catch up. Rather grow more slowly on a firm foundation, then quickly on an unstable one.


Brought to you by Boston City Campus and Business College – Providers of project management courses to help you with your growing business.

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