Klayton owns a very successful rapid growth company called The Fireplace Place in Atlanta.
For several years now he’s been growing at over 50 percent annually. (Disclosure: Klayton and his company have been a business coaching client of my company’s for over 3 years.)
When most business owners imagine this kind of sustained growth for themselves they feel torn. On the one hand, they want the growth–to earn more, create more value in the market, and to let them mature their business.
But on the other hand, they fear that that growth might come at too high a price–taking over their life, putting their company at risk, or pushing them far outside their comfort level.
First, let’s define what a rapid growth company commonly looks like.
- You’re scaling your business in earnest.
- You have key leaders other than you in at least 2 of the 5 core pillars of your business (sales/marketing; operations; HR; finance; or executive leadership).
- You have a base of systems, and are in the process of fleshing these systems out and refining them.
- You may feel like you’re bursting at the seams as you and your team work to keep up with the rapid growth you’re experiencing.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you more successfully lead a rapid growth company.
- To sustainably grow you must personally produce less and get your business to produce more. This one is a seeming paradox. But if scaling companies for 20 years has taught me anything it’s this: if my growth is based on my personal production that growth is both capped on the upper end and vulnerable if I get hurt. Let this be a call to action to you to consistently look for ways to do less for your business by getting other people on your team to produce more.
- Time away from the business helps give your team room to grow. Some business owners wear it like a badge of honor that the last vacation they took was several years ago. But it’s been my experience that when I am away from the business for 1-3 weeks, it gives my business a chance to grow up. It gives space for team members to make decisions, and for them to look to each other to handle the inevitable “situations” that come up. Sometimes it points out places where our systems and controls are weak, or where my leadership team needs more coaching to grow as business people.
- Keep an eye on your cash flow, especially your receivables. It is all too common that when you grow fast you focus more on “sales” and let collections slip into the background. Remember this–the only thing worse than not making the sale is making the sale, fulfilling on your product or service, but not collecting on what you’re owed. One of the best ways to increase your “sustainable growth rate” (the rate at which you can fund your growth without outside sources of capital) is to reduce your collection cycle.
- Enroll your team in building the systems, controls, and scalable solutions with you. This structure is what supports your fast growth and sustains it. And if you want to bring these into your culture you’ve got to involve your team in developing your infrastructure. So rather than you telling people what systems to build and how to build them, ask them questions and coach them to build these systems themselves. Rather than regarding your team as a tool to leverage your personal efforts and magnify your personal production, a Level Three mindset helps you see them as partners in taking your business to the next level.
- Promote your team, allow yourself to fade into the background.As management guru Peter Drucker once said, “The founder has to learn to become the leader of a team rather than a ‘star’ with ‘helpers.'”Build up your team; let them shine. You don’t need to be the one who has the best ideas or who gets the credit or plum assignments. Let your team step center stage and start to shift your role to that of support player and stage manager.
If you would like to access several free video trainings to help you scale your company and get your life back, click here and access our free Scale Tool Kit. Enjoy.