Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How to Cope with Growing Pains

Christiane Soto
Marketing Manager - SMB

Remember back when your business first started? Those early days and weeks, when you were brimming with excitement and anything seemed possible?

You were thrilled at your first big sale. You were ecstatic when your business started to grow.

And then the pain came.

The challenges faced by growing SMBs are different from those faced by start-ups. Growing pains ranked just behind talent concerns and sales worries in a recent Oracle/Inc. survey of more than 300 small and medium business (SMB) leaders.

Growth is built on a foundation of a great team, happy customers, and the right technologies. Unfortunately, many SMB leaders aren’t sure where to turn for expertise in any of these areas.

Here are four things you can do to ease the pain.

1. Appraise Your Current Team and Rebuild It for the Future

The type of person who works well in a start-up―a jack of all trades―may not be the type of employee who can make the transition to a large company with established procedures and processes. The hardest thing to accept is that this might also apply to you.

There is a difference between having a particular skill and being skilled at business. Sure, you had that single, brilliant idea that launched your business, but to grow, you need to move beyond that one idea. Otherwise, all you have built is a fad.

Many founders and CEOs hate the idea of relinquishing the leadership reins, but it can be the smartest way to go. All too often, they learn the hard way when much needed funding comes with one condition―to bring in a new executive team.

2. Be Methodical and Careful in Your Hiring

On one hand, you desperately need to grow your staff as quickly as possible to stay squarely on your growth curve.

On the other hand, hiring decisions made during this critical period of growth can determine just exactly how well you stay on the growth curve and how successful your business will be in the future.

No matter how urgent the need, make the right personnel choices. Hiring in a hurry can lead to disasters, and that’s something that no growing company can afford.

3. Start Relying on Data, Not Your Gut

Data doesn't have an agenda. It doesn't have a hunch. Data has power.

When data is collected from every corner of your business and filtered through built-in best practices, it turns into actionable information. The intelligence gleaned allows your business to make the right decisions, in real time.

Business leaders who remain stubborn about relying on their gut are dinosaurs—and likely to share their fate.

4. Invest in the Future, Invest in Technology

Are you still figuring out your finances on spreadsheets? Are you failing to outfit your sales teams with the latest mobile technologies? Does HR operate without a link to finance and other key business processes?

A business cannot grow, scale, or compete without investing in the technologies that drive automation—and innovation.

Many SMBs face growing pains when they don’t understand how to scale effectively. When you hit your “Shark Tank” moment—major publicity, an IPO, or another demand driver—the increased demand can send your workload through the roof.

If you haven’t implemented your workloads with the ability to scale in the cloud, the shark’s teeth might sink into your legs. Talk about growing pains.

The lesson: invest in the cloud technologies that help your workload scale up and down, fast, to support any level of demand.

Read more results from the Inc. survey or GO chat with us.

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