Owners of high growth businesses often express a mix of emotions: excited, exhilarated and surprised one moment and daunted, frustrated and confused the next. It’s natural to feel both positive yet concerned at the same time – how to cope with rapid expansion? How to keep every customer happy and employ the staff and expertise needed to meet the increased workload? How to prioritise your time and manage cash flow?

The list of challenges goes on, so we’ve identified some useful steps here to help guide you along a smoother, more positive and sustainable path to success.

Work smarter, not harder

Time is precious, so prioritise your own efforts carefully. Now is the perfect time to ask yourself if the tasks you are currently spending your time on are the ones to make your business successful? Are you the right person to do them? Could someone else take on those tasks, freeing your time up to focus on moving the business forward?

Stop being a hero

High growth businesses are often in constant crisis mode. Be careful not to end up spending most of your time responding to queries and troubleshooting. It can become addictive and embed a culture of dependence on you in the business. This is not sustainable and will place restraints on the ability of your business, and its people to grow.

Make it happen

To move the business forward on a deliberate path takes focus and perseverance. You may even need to fundamentally change some of the ways you or your business have operated so far. Business coaching can help here, enabling you to create your own goals, strategy and plans. You’ll own them, believe in them and have the clarity and conviction to see them through.

Take the time to think

As the leader of your business you need to take a step back and look at how things are working and the bigger picture, examine your long-term business goals and remember to develop and revisit your plans to get there. Be disciplined about setting time aside for this purpose, give it the priority it deserves and it will reward you in the long run.

Believe in yourself, but don’t be a fool

Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind creating and growing new businesses but they can also become the very people holding it back. As your business develops, it’s important to recognise that you too need to develop! You’ll need the skills of a leader, the awareness to change your own role, and learn how to delegate and trust the people you have hired… the list goes on. Invest in yourself, think about the progression that you need to perform effectively and don’t hesitate to call on the services of a good business coach to help you get there.

Tackle underperformance

Owner managers often come to us asking how to manage problematic or underperforming employee(s). A part of the issue may actually lie with you, the business owner. Certainly, it’s crucial to address the problem. Discussing it with an experienced coach can help explore the underlying causes and find ways to alleviate the frustration.

Be a competitor

Growth businesses should by nature be highly competitive. However, business conditions change constantly and yesterdays market-leading offer may not cut it tomorrow. To keep competitive, stay close to the ever-changing needs and aspirations of your customers. Keep customers loyal with impeccable service, actively seek new opportunities and beware that competitors might start to bite back once they notice you.

Keep your eyes on the money

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and, we may add, cash is king. It is vital that cash flow is monitored closely, particularly in high-growth businesses. Funding is regularly a key bottleneck for businesses in expansion. This is a good time to seek outside help from a good business coach to help you critically evaluate your financing needs, get you and your business ready for investment, and help you explore sources of financing and how to access it.

Lead change

Most growing businesses will at some point have to go through a revolution rather than just evolution to enable future growth. The change may involve a radical new direction in strategy, acquiring another company, expanding into international markets, implementing a new production process or a company reorganisation. Such change can be both exciting and empowering, or daunting and time consuming. This is a good time to acknowledge that bringing in a good coach with change leadership experience to help smooth the period of transition would be an astute business decision.

Innovate or die

Constant innovation in all areas of a business is the key to maintaining your competitive edge and to long-term successful growth. It is very easy to start losing momentum in a growth business, through complacency or lack of forward planning. It is through innovation, doing things differently, looking at problems as opportunities for progression, that most barriers to growth are overcome.

Above all, it’s vital to recognise the importance of surrounding yourself with the business expertise you need to stay on track and meet your strategic objectives. This includes employing the right key people, and giving yourself the time and opportunity to step away from the business to regularly review performance. This is where the services of a good business coach can really make a difference.

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