Growing a business is a lot like an amusement park. It’s exciting, fun, overwhelming and nauseating. It’s a roller coaster of fear, confidence, joy and panic. It’s a tilt-a-whirl of influence, innovation, and concern. The growth stage of business can be a wild ride, especially when the growth occurs rapidly.
This array of emotions and experiences often takes business owners by surprise. It makes them question if they’re doing the right things. It causes doubt about whether it’s all worth it. It feels strange that the growth and scale they’ve worked so hard to achieve results in a whole new set of challenges they didn’t anticipate.
But here’s the good news – there are common, predictable challenges in the growth stage of business. We call them blind spots. Recognizing, or even anticipating, these blind spots empowers business owners to move from the constant frenzy of reaction and overwhelm to a proactive, steady, and predictable rhythm.
Here are the five common blind spots of growing businesses:
Feeling Frazzled – You’ve Reached Your Limit, and You Know There’s Got to Be a Better Way
It’s common in the growth stage to find yourself (and your team) consumed with activities that creep beyond your competency. Carrying out roles and responsibilities within your business that don’t match your skills and desires is risky. If someone else wouldn’t pay you to process payroll, keep the books, design your website or screen resumes, for example, your business probably shouldn’t be paying you to do those things either.
Flying Blind – Your Gut Feeling for What’s Happening In Your Business is No Longer Accurate
Business owners often have, in their minds, an expectation of what the numbers should be. As your business grows and scales, you can no longer keep all the financial details in your head. You need accurate, relevant financial reports that provide a clear picture of how your company really makes money. Without this information, you can end up with lots of activity, even high gross revenue, but little profitability.
Fighting Fires – You Are Spending a Lot of Time Putting Out Fires Instead of Preventing Them
As you add more people and more activities in your business, it becomes harder to identify the underlying issues. Suddenly, it becomes challenging to tell whether you’re fixing symptoms or the underlying causes. You certainly have to deal with the acute issues in your business — but you also need a way to prevent, or more quickly detect, future issues.
Fear of Missing Out – You Have More Cash Than You’re Used to, and You Don’t Want to Waste It
As your business grows and becomes more profitable, you’ll find yourself with a new problem — excess cash. Is more money really a problem? It certainly can be. When things are going well, it’s easy for costs to creep in. It’s also easy for inefficient processes to become the status quo. The comfort of excess cash can cause you to undermine your own success.
Failing to Forecast – You Have a Vision for Your Future, but You’re Not Sure If It Pencils Out
You have a clear vision for your business. You have focused strategies to get you there. Or, at least that’s what you hope. Without crunching the numbers, it’s hard to be confident about whether your strategies will actually get the results you’re planning on. You need financial projections to support your strategy. Otherwise, you’re relying on a strategy of hope. Though it’s a wonderful virtue, hope is not an effective strategy
What to Do and Where to Start
I bet some of these blind spots sounded familiar to you. So, now what? Check out www.tdtpc.com/blindspot for specific guidance on each blind spot, including what to do and where to start.
Courtney DeRonde is a CPA and Managing Partner of TDT CPAs and Advisors. Courtney and the TDT team help overwhelmed, successful small business and nonprofit leaders achieve better results and move their organization to the next level. Her professional background includes almost two decades serving small businesses and non-profits. As an owner in her firm and managing partner, she also has firsthand experience running and scaling a small business.