Your main goal from the very beginning of your startup was to see things take off. When it happens, it can be very overwhelming. Yesterday, you were a small, modest team, struggling to stay afloat. Today, things have suddenly changed, and you have an entirely new list of demands to keep up with. If you continue to follow the formula that’s brought you such success, you’ll see your growth become exponential. With growth comes a fresh batch of concerns, and you’ll need to be able to meet them head-on.
Be prepared to step up
The tone of a startup is always a little more relaxed than the tone of a serious business. Just make sure you don’t get too relaxed. It’s important to remember that you’re a CEO. There’s nothing wrong with being a cool CEO who values your employees as a close-knit work family, but you need to be able to rise to the challenge as the temperature turns up. Speak with your employees about changes that need to happen and how the growth of your startup will affect their working lives. They’re also responsible for your success, and you can’t afford to alienate the people who have helped you reach the top. They’re virtually irreplaceable.
Consider your office space
More growth means more money. You’ll probably need a larger office space. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is leasing out or purchasing a building that only meets your immediate needs. Growth can double, triple or even quadruple in the blink of an eye if you stay on the right track. Make sure any offices or retail locations you pay for will work for a long time. This usually means going much bigger than you need. You’d be surprised how quickly you’ll need more space.
Avoid overworking your employees
You can’t afford for your team to get burned out now – not when you need them the most. Growth will create a lot more work to be done, and you can’t overwhelm your current employees. Make sure you hired a diverse and capable team that will be capable of keeping up with your workload. If you need to bring in a dozen more people to keep things running smoothly, it’s better than letting the quality of work slip because your current team is overwhelmed.
Never take growth for granted
Moving up a few tiers in the business world is always a good feeling, but don’t get complacent. It’s a wonderful idea to step back, take a few deep breaths and marvel at your success. Just don’t let all the marveling hold you back. The worst thing you can do is allow yourself to stagnate. If you’ve found a clear path to success, don’t take too many breaks to smell the flowers. Keep moving forward once you know where you’re going.
Don’t stop innovating
A competitor can be waiting right around the corner to overtake your success, and you won’t even know it. It’s imperative that you stay abreast in your industry. What is everyone else working on? Could a competitor threaten your valued customer base? Nobody is psychic; but to some extent, it’s easy to see what the future holds in your own industry. Your goal is to grow faster than your competitors. Keep an open mind and innovate at every turn. Don’t wait for a competitor to start cornering your market before you counterstrike. Maintaining your lead is a lot easier than fighting to get it back.
In some ways, rapid growth is just as mentally taxing as a lack of success. Everyone will be working hard, and they don’t know when this period of time will end. Make sure you talk with your staff as often as possible, plan some fun team-building exercises and let everyone know how much you appreciate them. Give them a reason to celebrate your continual climb to the top.
Tess Pajaron is a community manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider in Australia. She has a background in business administration and management and covers stories in careers and marketing.