Keep Your Cash
A second feature of exiting the start-up phase is that your income is likely to be more consistent (perhaps even a bit predictable) as the enterprise regularly takes on new customers. So it stands to reason that you’ll also be setting your sights on expanding your operations to grow your cash flow even further. These are good things, but failing to manage your finances and expansion correctly could result in an untimely demise for your company.
Part of this lies in spending and saving money prudently, but the bigger picture is more attitudinal. Regardless of the numbers on the spreadsheet in front of you, just assume that you don’t yet have enough capital to respond to the unknowns that lay ahead. An additional challenge here is that more and more of your attention will be required to manage these new financial demands. Here’s a common example:
You’ve proven your business model works in its market of origin and you’re bringing in enough cash flow to tackle a new market with a similar strategy. Without careful planning, you run the risk of sinking too much of your revenue into this new venture. If it fails (or even lags), you may be short on resources and overextended to the point where you cannot recover.
It’s common advice that apparently can’t be offered enough: Get Quick and Careful – analyze your moves going forward, weighing risks versus rewards and putting stability and the quality of your products/services on equal footing with your desire to grow larger.
Managing Your Team
The excessive time/energy-commitment that was required of your during the start-up period is quickly eroding. If you catch yourself thinking this is simply “more than one person can handle” (or worse, you’re beginning to spend time and energy masking personal symptoms of overload), then you’re already telling yourself it’s time to make a change.
The growth stage is also marked by the need to seek out new talent to take on the tasks you are unable to. Growth stage hires are brought on to produce different results. Consider streamlining the hiring process, making it more efficient and less costly.