The Cycle of Growth

books Jun 30, 2020

During periods of growth, it is common to create certain complexities inside your business that, left unchecked, will stifle or even strangle growth. Consider this one of the great paradoxes of running a business. The more successful you are and the higher you reach for the stars, the more likely you are to get tripped up by the very things that brought you success.

I’ve seen this with nearly every brilliant chef, turned restaurant owner. They create something truly unique and rave-worthy. Customers start telling all their friends and family about this amazing new place they found and they encourage everyone to go try the restaurant.

Before you know it, the restaurant is over-crowded, the kitchen is bogged down with capacity constraints, long waits ensue, so corners are cut in an attempt to run on time and please the expanding customer base. The menu becomes a little less exciting and a lot less ambitious. The raving fans are no longer impressed. They stop coming, stop referring and the restaurant settles into a rhythm, form and function much like every other restaurant on the block.

I’ve seen this too many times to count. Why? Because small business owners fail to understand this paradox. That the things that made them successful will contribute to their downfall.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can predict these cycles of growth in your business and you can deploy smart strategies from the business literature to protect against the downfalls, securing continued growth and prosperity. The problem with small business owners is that they are too busy running the business to spend any time on the business. If they would only force themselves to take a moment of reflective repose before devoting themselves to the next wave of action, they’d prevent a whole lot of heartache and lost revenue.

The small restaurant owner, for example, would understand that there are only two solutions to a capacity problem: raise prices or expand capacity. The solution is not to cut corners and fail to delight the raving fans.

In your practice growth, especially during the great economic reset of coronavirus, how you reflectively repose and then actively respond is absolutely critical.

Recommended reading:

  • Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business> by Gino Wickman
  • Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath.
  • Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish

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