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Managing Your Company's Growth

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Managing a fast-growing company can be the best of times and the worst of times. More to the point, it seems as though there's never enough time.

Exponential growth is exhilarating, but all too often that growth comes at inconvenient times and in unmanageable spurts. It seems that there's never enough time or resources to implement procedures or hire adequate staff. Ironically, growing too fast can even jeopardize the future of the company.

Fast growth is a problem most companies would love to have. But adopting a "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" attitude can cost you sales, frustrate your employees, and lock you out of opportunities for future growth. Instead of plunging ahead, you need to anticipate problems and make tough decisions about how to best meet customers' needs.

It comes down to four possible approaches:

  1. Keep a low profile until your systems are in place and you're prepared to handle fast growth.
  2. Outsource everything and concentrate on managing how it all comes together.
  3. Outsource specific functions that won't affect the quality of your product or service while ramping up key in-house capabilities.
  4. Grow your in-house capabilities as fast as possible to handle it all yourself.

No one likes to leave money on the table, but the key is finding the right growth strategy for your company. For example, outsourcing can be a great solution: If you meet customers' expectations, it doesn't matter whether your company actually owns the truck, stuffs the envelopes, or runs the factory. On the other hand, if you don't come through, no one cares that it was your contractor's trucks or employees that failed. The blame is all yours.

Ultimately, customer demands will determine which approach is right for your company.

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