Coping with growing pains

16/11/2016
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When you encounter a problem, reverting back to ‘normal’ isn’t always the answer – sometimes you have to find a new solution. As children grow up, they’re feet get bigger. This can present a problem because every so often you will discover that their shoes no longer fit.

One way to solve this is to adopt the feudal Chinese ‘Wild Swans’ style feet binding. The feet stop growing and the same shoes will fit indefinitely. The obvious problem here is the loss of circulation, blood poisoning and gangrene that the process can cause.

Better then to embrace the change for what it is, accept that growth is natural and positive and solve the problem by purchasing new shoes that do fit. When growing pains affect your business, it is tempting to make changes that will bring the situation back to what it was. Like the foot binding, this can have detrimental effects.

For example, growing pains are a time to keep your ego in check. At one point you were master of all aspects of your business, able to oversee everything. With growth this becomes more and more difficult.

By continually increasing your workload and working crazy hours you can remain in control, satisfy your ego and keep things ‘normal’. Normal at what price? Burning yourself out, negatively impacting your own health and opening the door to the mistakes and lapses in judgement that exhaustion brings is just as detrimental to your business as taking no action, working the same hours and slowly being overwhelmed by the work.

Time for new shoes? Accepting that growth is taking place and that growth is a good thing is an important step. Your business is not spiralling out of control – it is succeeding. Taking on new staff or delegating more tasks to others is the sensible choice – for your own health and the health or the business.

The ego is also in play when you look at the direction of growth. To thrash the foot metaphor even further – what if you think the feet aren’t growing correctly? Is it time for supports or insoles? Perhaps… but perhaps not. Do you consider yourself enough of an expert to make that judgement?

Business owners tend to think they and only they know the correct direction a business should be growing in but, more often than not, it is the customer who knows what direction to go in better than anyone else.

A business that has grown will look different to the way it used to. It is a fact that you need to get used to too. Accept that fact and ensure that it grows the right way. The right way may not be the way you originally envisaged, but it could be. Work closely with your mentor and listen to you customers and your business will grow in the right direction and be where it should be.

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