When you are a new business owner, your primary goal is to break even as it opens the door to profits. You are at the point where you have customers who are paying for what you are offering on a regular basis. Your cash flows begin to register inflows. It's an awesome feeling to steer your venture to profits. Profitability drives the next natural goal of the business: growth.
The growth phase is one of the most exciting and most challenging phases of entrepreneurship. The prospects are looking up. You are establishing a footprint on the market. Customers are buzzing, and the sales numbers are incredible. Every business owner strives to develop her business quickly to realize its potential.
Get ready to steer your business through an explosive phase that can make or break it. Take some time to understand the impact of rapid growth, and plan for it. Let us review some of the risks associated with rapid growth.
"Ensure your operational plan is not affected by such glitches. Project your cash flows and prepare for the different scenarios."
"All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward." Ellen Glasgow, American Novelist
Cash Flow Crunch
Your business is getting bigger. There is an increase in revenues. On the other hand, the expenses also get bigger. You spend more on tools and equipment, software, inventory, and overheads among others. It becomes hard to track all your expenditure due to the sheer volume. This injects problems into your cash flows and one month of bad sales could deplete your disposable revenue. Similarly, failing to meet your short-term obligations such as payroll and rent can force you to shut down.
You may face delays in collecting receivables. Ensure your operational plan is not affected by such glitches. Project your cash flows and prepare for the different scenarios. Make sure you can service essential expenditure even during a cash crunch by creating an emergency fund.
Due to rapid growth, your expenditure may surpass your revenues. This is natural as your business prepares to deliver more and quickly. Strengthen your receivables collection department to minimize delays in revenue. It is unwise to have your cash flow dependent on one revenue source, so try diversifying your client base to minimize risk. It can be detrimental if your single big client fails you.
Lack of Financial Groundwork
It is time to minimize exposure to risk, which maximizes returns. Don't take credit to drive growth. Taking a loan increases your business' exposure to risk. There is a fine line between the interest you pay on the high-interest bank loan and the margins you make on your revenues. It is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode when your business hits a bump.
If you are paying yourself a salary, it is critical developing a saving habit. Taking a piece of your profit and allocating it to your emergency fund empowers you to clear debts and reduce risk. If you are running the business from your private funds, saving money and paying off debts it even more important. It is an excellent way to ensure your business does not leave you broke. Putting money aside on both fronts will enable smooth transitions and survival of unexpected setbacks.
Shore up reserves for your operational expenses. This empowers you to ride the bad waves. It will allow you to stay afloat in times when you are not making money. Having a rainy-day fund buys you time to re-strategize and get back to profitability. Usually, in such situations, buying time is all you need.
You can employ professional help for more than just taxes. Strive to stay updated with the latest cash flows. This helps you track your expenses against sales on an ongoing basis.
Risks of Operational Inefficiency
Growing your sales is good for profit. However, it also requires you to do more and faster. A rapidly growing business stretches and bends the inner structures, which are usually rigid. Attention to detail decreases and sometimes quality may become a challenge.
Rapid growth will force you to change the way you run things. A bigger workforce requires correspondingly strong leadership. The shift to the new systems and policies may not be as smooth. Pulling your people from the nitty-gritty to leadership roles might negatively affect productivity. Similarly, small flaws in management will be amplified. Be ready to address hiccups arising from those operational changes.
"Growing your sales is good for profit. However, it also requires you to do more and faster."
Hiring the Wrong People
A vibrant workforce is essential to drive rapid growth. Hiring a large number of people in a short time makes it hard to evaluate everyone properly. Your biggest challenge is to find the perfect person for the job. A rapidly growing business means heavier workloads than before. This reduces the time you put into issues such as employee welfare.
Human resource management becomes a real thing. You will need teams to look after the human capital. This eats a more significant chunk of your budget. In addition, with a big staff, you do not always get an exact match for the position. At times, you are forced to expedite placements to ensure production does not collapse. Don't fall into the trap of hiring inadequate people. It will lead to an organizational mess later on.
Cultivate a company culture that keeps your workforce motivated. Make it clear on what is the acceptable policy. Your new staff may not tick all the boxes in your requirements. Use your judgment to determine who is most useful to your business now.
"Try to keep a close tab on customer feedback. Follow up quickly when the levels of harmful feedback escalate."
Reduction of Customer Service
In fast-growing businesses, the demand for everything rises. This includes your time. You cannot put as much time and energy as before into projects. Success becomes a double-edged sword. The demand is so high that you cannot afford to pay individualized attention to all the projects. Similarly, you might be forced to spend less time even on your special accounts.
This lack of attention also affects your long-term relationships with clients, colleagues and business partners. In addition, prepare for a drop in service quality when you delegate departments such as customer care. Plan to take remedial action in specific circumstances. Poor customer care leads to a decline in business. The link is that customers feel disconnected from your company and may start giving negative ratings and reviews or even jump ship.
Try to keep a close tab on customer feedback. Follow up quickly when the levels of harmful feedback escalate. There is a good chance you can do something internally to resolve the issues. An increase in customer complaints signals a bottleneck in your production chain. Attend to it quickly to avoid losing repeat customers.
Ensure your customer care teams are re-trained and motivated to deliver on your goals. Be on the lookout for adverse ratings. This is especially true in the digital age. Have a policy that outlines how to respond to negative feedback on all platforms. For instance, a proactive reputation management strategy will help you keep your online world free of negative content. It also ensures quick and professional responses to bad press.
A primary goal of every business is profit. Sometimes it makes sense to sacrifice growth to safeguard profits. Rapid growth involves successfully managing high-risk situations. It puts the business under intense pressure from multiple angles. There are steps you can take to ensure your business handles rapid growth successfully. These include planning for expansion capital, preparing to scale up operations on all fronts, engaging the right talent and sticking to financial plans among others.
Ensure that your workforce is aligned to your business goals. This creates a harmony that lets you do business faster. On the positive side, it keeps the employees motivated to deliver beyond expectations.
Rapid growth is a thrilling phase of your business. It promises lucrative returns. Elevate your leadership and learn to ride the rough waves that come with it.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."