Avoiding the Downside of Rapid Growth

If a business has grown more quickly than anticipated, the first reaction may be exultation, followed by contentment to ride the wave and enjoy the fruits of its hard work. This can be a big mistake. Rapid growth sometimes has a tendency to pull the business away from its goals and objectives. Here are three important areas to manage during rapid growth:

1. Capital. It is easy to under-project the financing your business needs for expansion. Greater initial capitalization will help your business at critical junctures during growth.

2. The market. Continually monitor the market as the business grows. The need for more, and better, market research will help your business sustain its level of success. Ironically, as successful new ventures grow, entrepreneurs or members of the management team may come to believe that success will be continual and whatever the firm launches is likely to reach predicted margins. In fact, markets change continually. If the firm loses touch with shifting market needs, or if it relies on outdated market research (or insufficient market research), the results can be disastrous.

3. Innovation. Operating an innovative business that embraces change successfully is your key to survival. To do this, founders and managers need to solve problems using new approaches and search for new opportunities for the business.

Lisa Gundry, PhD Co-author of Entrepreneurship Strategy Professor of Management Director, Leo V. Ryan Center for Creativity & Innovation DePaul University

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