When you’re launching a business, it’s easy to think you need to blast onto the scene and astonish everyone with rapid growth coupled with record-breaking sales. Such is the foible of many an entrepreneur. Speaking from experience, this was a hard, preconceived assumption to get past.
The media has a tendency to report on all of the startups that have incredible success in their early days, quickly spreading customer bases and spiking in revenue. But, to recall the much-loved story of the tortoise and the hare, it’s the one that moves slowly and steadily that wins the race – not the one who flares bright and burns out!
It’s my belief that the best way to grow a business is slowly, and new businesses shouldn’t be discouraged when reading reports of these fast-growth startups. A constant, steady growth makes for a powerful foundation to build upon. Companies who grow fast are often lacking or forgoing essentials, leaving them vulnerable in the long-term to competition or, sometimes, to themselves. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this.
Preserve your company culture
When I read reports of some companies doubling or tripling their staff in a short space of time, I cringe. Employee culture is something I rate highly at finder. Providing a place where people want to come to work increases staff retention rates and boosts the quality of work a hundredfold. Hiring a mass amount of people at one time has the potential to destroy that culture. It’s people who create that culture and spread it to every new employee that’s hired. Having lots of new faces at once runs the risk of losing that closeness.
Look at some of the mammoth companies today who, despite growing incredibly fast in a short space of time, are now facing serious employee culture problems. These are examples of fast-growing companies who don’t have a stable foundation. Which leads nicely to my next point…
No hire is better than a bad hire, period. I’ve made mistakes a few times in the past with this and it has cost my business. Now, I’ve made sure that our hiring procedure is a longer process with a more unconventional approach. I tend to value aptitude and character over past experience. Someone who looks good on paper might not be a very good fit for the company, and a slow process helps to feel this out, rather than hiring rapidly to keep up with growth.
Taking your time allows you to be picky with what new products or features you want to add. When we roll out finder in a new country, we build up each part slowly to make sure we fully understand the market and don’t miss anything vital. This is an incredibly vital part of a business – making sure there’s a market for your product. Slow growth makes it more likely that you’ll see these dead ends before you slam into them.
Mind your cash flow
Ah, cash flow. The basis of every business. As a caveat, I will say that there are many companies who have flourished on fast growth, and companies that have withered on slow growth. It’s simply my opinion that slow growth works better in the long run most of the time. So while you are growing at a steady pace, it pays to keep a close eye on your cash flow to make sure you are still running efficiently.
A business loan can help out with financial strain, especially at the beginning. I only warn you to be mindful of how much you borrow, as you don’t want it turning into an added pressure to pay off when you should be focusing on other areas. Do your research and compare options to make sure you’re getting the right loan that’s the right fit for your business.
Slow and steady wins the race
Lose the idea that a successful business is based on how fast you grow. Be impatient and feel the need to start breaking records, but realize it’s important to allow time to let your company grow, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. Create that strong base and a successful company will follow.