Opinions expressed by entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. What is essential is that we learn from them. And especially in this culture of coverage, we own them and share them with others so we can all learn and grow. It won’t always be fun. Sharing a cautionary tale of failure, for example. But embracing them and sharing them, thinking about what went wrong so you can correct it next time, will bring respect.
Authentic, compassionate, transparent leaders with a heightened curiosity are the future. However, to foster all these traits, you cannot lead without respect. So swallow that pride and share your lessons learned. And in doing so, help yourself and others. It’s a win-win.
And so for business. How can I contribute to this conversation now that I’ve set the stage? Given the challenging times that the entire business has experienced in recent years, our business has grown rapidly, scaling the business model, developing and expanding into new markets. I would put all these on the pedestal of success, but it was not without difficulties. Whoever said the road to success was never smooth sailing wasn’t kidding!
Reflecting on our trip, here are my top takeaways:
Culture is king
I’m all for the value of culture. I could wax lyrical about it for hours. I cannot stress its importance to a stable, agile and happy workplace. Happy people equals happy customers, equals happy business.
Often, in times of rapid growth, numbers and metrics are prioritized over fluff. However, growth cannot be sustained without these foundations, values and cultures upon which great things can be achieved. Even if you have a great culture, especially in times of growth, you need to prioritize it even higher.
Think about it. We all know how easy it can be to get bogged down in a time-sensitive project that promises big things. However, if no one in the business knows what the vision is, or how this project and its amazing results will contribute to the overall goal, growth will not be sustainable.
Remembering who you are as a business is critical.
Communication is queen
Next, you need to articulate this to your teams. Defining strategy and aligning it with your culture and values is one thing. Communicating this to the team and getting them on board is another.
Going back to my previous example. By focusing on a project’s ROI, it can be easy to lose people along the way (physically and mentally) if we don’t keep them updated and on board. And if people aren’t engaged, or aligned with your mission and vision and understand the role they play, leading through rapid growth will be difficult.
Ironic indeed, given the impact on finances that we know engagement can deliver.
Related: 6 Essential Components of a Solid Growth Strategy
People are princes and princesses
This has two elements. Your people and customers. I’ll start with your people. They are your greatest and most powerful asset. You hired them because they are great, fit your culture and your business. They are the reason you are in this stage of business.
So why do we hire so fast when we’re growing fast? To fill the position, tick the box and continue? We all know the business cost of hiring the wrong person, both financially and culturally. Because time is not our friend. You know what, make time. Or repent at your leisure.
Roles must be filled quickly; understand. But it’s important to spend time identifying what the role really requires. What skills are necessary and equally important, what are the characteristics and attitudes that one must have for the position and the company. It’s a matter of attitude versus ability.
Start with the right person, invest in them, give them ownership and do it every day. This is how you can build a company that will grow long into the future.
Equally important are your customers. Without them, you have no job. Successful companies are built around their customers; exceeding expectations and excelling in service. To do this you need to understand their needs and desires and exceed them. You need to be in constant communication, actively listening to feedback. I would hope that this is what is driving your rapid growth. It should be a driving force.
Related: The key to achieving your company’s growth strategies is talent
Set yourself up for success
Growth isn’t everything. It does not always mean success and safety. However, it can be if you lay the groundwork. So before you dive headfirst into it, take a step back and assess the status quo. Highlight areas for improvement and fix them. Escalate problems and you only serve to intensify them.
Only pursue growth when you are prepared to succeed. If you are already the best you can be, then you can scale successfully and sustainably.
Related: 3 Ways to Know If Your Growth Strategy Is Actually Helping You Grow