Based on your responses, it appears to be time for a hard look in the mirror—time to ask some tough questions. Entrepreneurs, like yourself, are no doubt familiar with growing a business. But growth that goes unchecked, and without proactive, strategic planning, will cause your organization more harm than good.

When a business’s growth starts to exceed its capability, the root problem manifests itself in a number of ways. You are likely familiar with the symptoms. Your employees are logging longer hours and the workload is taking a toll. Perhaps you’ve lost a key employee or two. Confusing or outdated policies have caused your growing staff to flood HR with complaints. Projects are falling through the cracks, and clients have taken notice.

My motto is “Go Slow to Grow Fast.” It’s not always easy for an ambitious entrepreneur to slow down, but taking the time to build the necessary infrastructure to support your anticipated growth is the most important thing you can do in this stage of your company’s Lifeline.

To help you take a step back from the day-to-day and look at the big picture, consider these three steps from Chapters 1–3 of Go Slow to Grow Fast, written by Tilson CEO Brent R. Tilson. These tips will help you and your organization start to grow effectively.

Next Steps

  1. Determine where you are

At the first sign of a problem, every entrepreneur I know has the same initial thought: what do I need to do to fix it?

The question is understandable. Entrepreneurs are doers, decision makers. But making decisions in a vacuum can be costly. That’s why the first critical step of Going Slow is to understand where you are today.

Without an understanding of where your business is at present, you run the risk of making decisions that merely address a symptom of a larger problem, or worse, exacerbate the root issue. For example, a rapidly growing company often puts a strain on existing employees. Workloads, hours, and stress increase. In a vacuum, it appears hiring more employees could alleviate all of these new issues. But in reality, increasing the number of employees before correcting problems in the employees’ underlying systems will only make matters worse.

So before you act, first determine where you are today so you can identify the activities that will make the biggest difference the quickest.

  1. Create your corporate “dashboard”

Imagine you are driving a car. In front of you is the dashboard, full of knobs, lights, and gauges. Speedometer, gas gauge, tachometer, tire pressure light, engine light, to name a few. While this may seem obvious, all of these instruments in the dashboard—every single one—provide you with important information about how the car will perform. Driving a car without a dashboard would be unwise to say the least.

The same should be said of your business. It is crucial for every business to develop a corporate “dashboard” to monitor its overall financial performance and operational effectiveness. Populate the dashboard with key metrics and measurables such as revenue per employee and ROI per employee. A consistently monitored and updated corporate dashboard allows a business to anticipate challenges down the road and—when a warning light flashes—make timely adjustments to stay on course.

  1. Acknowledge your blind spots

A new entrepreneur doesn’t know what they don’t know. Yet after years of experience, they learn to run their business, much like an experienced driver.

But what if that driver were put into the Indianapolis 500 and they were racing at speeds over two hundred miles an hour? What would happen? Most likely, the driver would quickly wreck. The same holds true for business leaders. They learn to run their business and, as it grows at a controllable pace, they’re able to learn and adjust to their changing environment. However, if the company grows too quickly, the business leaders may struggle to manage their new reality and trouble begins.

It can be a tough pill to swallow, but it is important for business owners to acknowledge their blind spots. Your expertise and experience that has carried you to this point may or may not be adequate for what is ahead. Your blind spots may be putting your company at risk, and chances are, they can be easily fixed.

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In Go Slow To Grow Fast, Tilson CEO Brent R. Tilson presents tools for leaders to zero in on the critical numbers and measurements they need to monitor.

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