• Christa Dhimo, Impono LLC

The Small-Biz Hub: Time for a Tune-Up?


WHEN THE LITTLE FISH WANT TO GROW WITHOUT TURNING INTO BIG FISH


You're not a start-up anymore.

You have a thriving small business -- maybe $1M - $50M, 5-80 employees. Maybe more.

But you work in the realm somewhere between feeling like a start-up and running a much larger business. How can you possible grow or shift or do anything different now, and how can you possibly find the time?

We've been there, too... read on...

GROWTH IS NOT ABOUT INSTANT CHANGE, IT IS ABOUT EVOLVING CHANGE


Growing Pains. Growing Pain. Pain.

A lot of companies talk about growth transformation in this way, and we wish they wouldn't. Physiologically speaking, growing pains occur during a time of growth and then they subside. That's right-- they go away. The "growing pains" that companies talk about sometimes last for months, maybe even a year. If pain lasts that long or longer, it's not because of growth-- it's because your business lacks fitness. It is essentially out of shape and cannot keep up with the additional activity required for or added muscle weight resulting from growth.

The prospect of growth should not give anyone heartburn. It should feel exciting, insecure, anxious, competitive, exhilarating and at times chaotic-- but the "pain" should be relatively short-lived if you mindfully understand your growth path and tune-up your internal operating gears to support that growth path.

If you are not properly prepared for growth-- if your customers, people, organizational structure, and internal operations are not aligned to sustain carrying the extra weight that growth brings with it, then yes you will feel pain, probably until you make the right corrections and become more fit for your new shape and size.

Likewise, if you do not properly pace your change, your foundation will not be able to support your fast growth and your structure will surely creak.

The best companies grow while hedging all the aspects that must support that growth. Start-ups that look for a quick exit strategy won't both too much with mindful, well-paced growth: they can't afford to. Their entire investment strategy and business structure is about fast growth. But for most start-ups and certainly for small businesses looking to get to that next peak, your pace will most assuredly require attention to the items that support your business. Everything must evolve, not just your customer base or service offering. Everything.

But that doesn't mean that it takes a lot of resources or effort or new capital spending-- it simply requires a smart view into your own desired evolution and some practical business "savvys."

SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED IS A TUNE-UP AND GROWTH OPENS UP


A few members of my extended associate team and I were at a small business meeting last month. During that time, one of the small business owners looking to focus more deeply into an emerging pocket-market (within her existing market) asked us if she should be aggressive with how she is evolving and growing her business.

We confirmed this wasn't an entirely new market-- she is not starting over, and we asked if she could evolve with what she already has. "Well, yes," she replied, "I'd just have to make some adjustments with my team."

And there was her answer. And it was the right answer.

Many times small businesses are in a ripe position to grow just by paying attention to their market and determining where their focus should be. As long as they attend to their core competency and are not looking to develop or penetrate a brand new market (which they can certainly do, but that's not evolution, that's developing a new business), often times small, incremental adjustments with a refocus of attention into a new pocket or a new way of working opens splendid opportunities for growth.

In reality, all you need is a tune-up and the gears that so wonderfully built your company to begin with support the growth you are looking to evolve.

BOTTOM LINE: GROWTH DOESN'T HAVE TO BE BIG, IT JUST HAS TO BE GROWTH


In the age of Start-Ups, Big Funding, Exist Strategies, Small Business Glory it's easy to be fooled into believing that growth has to be big in order to be legitimate, that financials and profits have to look steep and high in order for a business to be proud of them, and that growth has to be aggressive and "pitchy" in order to matter.

None of that is true. Growth is growth, and as long as you do it well and you haven't tied a specific aggressive growth to an exit strategy (and most small businesses are not in that game-- they started a modest company with the vision of longevity), solid growth should be registered as a win.

If you manage your business responsibly and can grow according to an appropriate plan, fortifying your foundation so that your ability to grow isn't hindered by a lack of resource (and your plan doesn't have too much resource, which will weigh you down and require more growth speed), growth is yours for the taking.

Many times, all you need is a tune-up.

We know that launching a new or transforming an existing organization isn't simple, but it can be easier with the right advisors and doers. If you have additional questions about this topic or how it can impact your business, contact us. Let's see what we can do for you.

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Impono: verb, 3rd conjugation

 

Definitions:

1) to place in command

2) to establish

 

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