Growth in a business is a purely positive thing – isn’t it? Actually, it depends on the rate at which the growth is achieved and how controlled the new growth is. Is your business growing wildly and rapidly? That may be a sign that you’re in for some dire consequences – the consequences of growth no one talks about. Experts say businesses should strive for slow, steady, controlled growth rather than uncontrolled rapid growth. We’ll explain why below.
The consequences of growth no one talks about
What are the consequences of growth? Growth that is achieved in a sustainable manner is, for the most part, free from consequences, but growth that is achieved unnaturally fast or without proper supports in place can doom your business to fail.
Let’s look at two examples to explore the consequences of growth that is uncontrolled.
Example 1: Weight loss
Weight loss can be a great, illustrative example of the consequences of uncontrolled business growth. If you’ve ever talked to a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian about weight loss, you’ve likely heard this: “Don’t lose more than 1-2 pounds per week.”
To the overweight patient looking to make major lifestyle and body changes, this can sound like an unnecessary throttling of weight loss potential. After all, if you have 40 pounds to lose, looking at losing 1-2 pounds per week sounds much too slow. You’d rather lose 10 pounds per week if possible!
But the professionals know best – weight loss that occurs faster than 1-2 pounds per week just doesn’t last. It’s not sustainable, because whatever a person has to do to lose weight faster than the average rate is usually not something they can keep up over time (medication use, starvation, skipping meals, intense exercise, etc.). They’ll gain it all back and then some. But if you can lose 1-2 pounds per week (the right way), you can easily keep that weight off.
It’s the same with business growth. Gaining 10 new clients per week sounds great until you realize the added costs that come with each new client, the new supports and resources you need in place to serve them, the additional employees you’ll need, etc. Suddenly, you’ve got 100 new clients and you’re struggling to give even basic service to your whole client base because of the new strain. It’s a bad situation for a business.
Example 2: Construction
In our second example, uncontrolled growth can be likened to a construction process. Imagine that you own a nice piece of property on the beach somewhere. You decide to build a pier that juts out over the ocean.
At first, you work diligently on the pier, making sure the supports and foundation are firmly in place before adding to the next section.
Once you reach the halfway point of where you’d like the pier to end, you realize it’s been a lot of work getting where you are now. You figure the supports and foundation you’ve already put in place should be enough to keep your pier sturdy and strong. You start building the walkway of the pier past the supports and beams underneath.
For a few feet, the wooden boards are still sturdy as they are nailed together and begin to jut out further over the open ocean. But there’s a tipping point where those boards won’t be strong enough to hold weight without the proper supports underneath. And if we’re comparing this scenario to business growth, you can see that this is the part where your business takes on too many new clients too quickly and starts to sink under the weight.
As you can see, there are some serious consequences of growth that occurs too quickly without the proper planning and support in place. Don’t get so focused on fast growth and success right now that you forget to mind the foundation of your business. Don’t let the excitement of experiencing growth keep you from working on the ever-important foundation of your company, and don’t let it happen so fast that you can’t keep up with the influx.