Growing a business is very challenging. There is much written on the subject and in this week’s Power Idea, Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston, explores the challenges of growing a business…and how to meet them.  

I was pondering this whole idea of growth and decided to google the phrase “Business Growth Challenges” recently and learned that there is a great deal that has been written about this topic, but few articles that really talk about what we should do to manage this challenge. But wouldn’t you know that our friends to the north in Canada would have some sound advice in articles from the Canada Business Network. Here are some extrapolations from this great series on managing growth.

Recognizing and overcoming the common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive. Effective leadership will help you make the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. The most common risks and mistakes that affect growing businesses are:

* Keeping up with the market
* Planning ahead
* Cash flow and financial management
* Problem solving
* The right systems
* Skills and attitudes
* Welcoming change

Keeping up with the market – Market research isn’t something you do as a one-off when you launch your business. Conditions change continually and your market research must be continuous as well. Making decisions on outdated marketing information can doom your business to failure.

Planning ahead – The plan that made sense for you a year ago isn’t necessarily right for you now. You need to revisit your plan regularly. For example, existing business relationships often have greater potential for profit and can also provide reliable cash flow. At the same time, every business needs to be alert to new opportunities. Diversifying your customer base spreads risks and will make your business sustainable in the long run.

Cash flow and financial management – Good cash flow control is important for any business. For a growing business it is crucial. Making the best uses of your finances should be a key element in your business planning. When your resources are limited it may cause you to miss opportunities that will aid you in your growth objectives.

Problem solving – Some businesses run in perpetual crisis mode. When this occurs, management spends most of their time troubleshooting. For example, your business might be increasingly at risk unless you take steps to ensure your intellectual property is properly protected. Having a well-organized operation will allow time for more important activities such brand development and so on. Identifying the key drivers of growth is a good way of understanding what to prioritize.

The right systems – All businesses produce and rely on large volumes of information, such as financial records, interactions with clients, employee details, regulatory requirements and so on. In order to make this information useful, you must employ the right systems to manage effectively. You can hire great people but without solid management information systems you cannot manage effectively. Many growing businesses find using established management standards one of the most effective ways of introducing best practices. Quality control systems can be an important part of driving improvements and convincing targeted customers that you can be relied on for consistent, high quality services and products.

Skills and attitudes – Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind creating and growing a new business. All too often, they are also the people holding them back as the company grows. The abilities that can help you launch a business are not the same as those you need to help it grow in a sustainable way. To grow your business, you need to learn to delegate properly, trusting your management team and giving up day-to-day control over every detail. It’s all too easy to stifle creativity and motivation with excessive interference. For many entrepreneurs, learning to listen to and take advice, is one of the hardest challenges they face. Think about what you are best at, and delegate the rest is sound advice!

Welcoming change – Complacency can be a major threat to a growing business. Regularly revisiting and updating your business plan can help remind you of the changing market conditions and the need to respond to them. You need to be fully committed to the strategy you set, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Not easy, but it can be done, and it will assist you in your growth.

We hope the information shared here will get you thinking about how you can manage your growth in a more fluid and sustainable manner. For the whole story, don’t forget to visit for the rest of the story.

Have a Great Week!