UBIK Blog | Honey, I blew up the company!
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Honey, I blew up the company!

It’s finally happening: the contract you’ve been dreaming of has come through. And now the real work begins.

Hiring. New offices. Buying supplies. But you’re worried about forgetting things, wasting money, working too hard or not hard enough. Here are a few tips from the pros that they wish they had known when they were in your shoes.

(A quick note before we dive in: the watchwords during growth periods are finesse and strategy, and don’t forget it. Write them on the back of your hand, jot them on a Post-It note, get them tattooed if you have to—we’ll let you decide where.)

Dreaming is great. When dreams turn into nightmares, it’s less great (and usually due to your lack of planning)

If you’re reading this, you’re either dreaming of growing your business or you’ve already made it happen.

In the latter case, maybe your life is completely chaotic and you cry in your car every morning when you get to the office, contemplating what’s ahead of you. Or maybe you had the forethought to put your dreams down on paper—you laid out the broad strokes of a plan in preparation for the day those dreams finally come true.

Yeah, we know, making plans is boring. But the dreamers who succeed are the pragmatic ones. And it’s this mentality that keeps them from flying high, only to nosedive into the ground because they forgot their parachute.

So, where do you start?

By revamping your business plan and thinking up possible growth scenarios and how they could impact your operations. What positions will need to be filled? How will your business’s overall organization be affected? Will logistics be an issue, and how can you reorient your marketing and communications strategies?

Like the good manager that you are (or that you now have no choice not to be), set up a dashboard with specific indicators to help you keep tabs on every single step and react to every change that could throw off your game plan.

Simon says: put your thinking cap on and start identifying your KPIs!

Your fantasies—now starring your accountants

Growing and making the money follow is often the biggest challenge faced by businesses that seize an opportunity to expand.

The orders just keep coming in. It’s exciting—so long as you can pay your employees and suppliers while you’re waiting on your customers to pay. Should you invest? Have you talked about it with your financial institution? The procedure that you’ve already put in place (see your plan, above) will help you estimate your financial needs and manage fluctuations in your cash flow. Armed with a meticulously crafted plan, banks and other investors will have a hard time keeping their hands off you!

Speaking of seduction by numbers, if you haven’t already done it, now is also the time to set up a realistic, detailed and meticulous budget tracking system. As you’ll find out, successful businesses strike the perfect balance between careful accounting practices and ambitious strategy.

When you’ve finally achieved the growth you want, it’s a little like having an erotic dream, except your accountants have top billing. It’s an incredible fantasy, but scripted to a T, not a single zero out of place.

The watchwords during growth periods are finesse and strategy, and don’t forget it.

Be nicer than Steve Jobs (it shouldn’t be too hard)

Even when it’s positive, change comes with its share of resistance. Before you go tooting your own horn down at the chamber of commerce, make sure you have your employees’ support. Take the time to explain upcoming changes instead of springing them on your staff. And most importantly, avoid alienating your closest allies à la Steve Jobs. Thank them for helping you get this far, because you owe at least part of your success to them. Leadership doesn’t just mean barking orders like an army colonel rendered half-delirious by malaria.

Leadership means showing empathy, gratitude and humility to rally your troops behind you.

Otherwise? You’ll need to bring new staff on board. Have human resources take on the lion’s share of that responsibility. The experts sometimes know better than you how to fill open positions. And that will leave you more time to talk with your accountants (while you try to chase away the troubling images that reading that last piece of advice has implanted in your heretofore unspoiled thoughts).

Finally, remember the spirit and culture that initially made your business so appealing to the people who spend their work days there and who are ready to go to battle for you (no, this isn’t a reason for you to scream at them like a lovelorn drill sergeant).

Growing your business is great. But try not to forget who you are, as an individual or as a business.

Keep dreaming!

You’re caught up in a whirlwind of activity. It’s challenging, terrifying and exciting as hell. But just because you’ve made it this far doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Your competitors never stop innovating, so keep your eye on them. And always explore new developments in other fields so you’ll be future-ready. Who knows, maybe you’ll hit on the idea that will spark your next expansion.

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Want to read more on this topic?

Desjardins - Expert advice for managing rapid growth

BDC - Manage your growth: Discover how to successfully grow your business

RBC Royal Bank - Manage Your Business Growth: Five Easy Steps

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