Here are eight signs that your business is growing too fast, and things might be getting out of control. Make sure to be on the lookout for these signals as your company grows this year.
1. Negative Cash Flow
For a business, cash-flow problems can stem from rapid expansion because a growing business translates to growing business costs. When a business expands, so do its expenses, and if cash going out of your company is greater than what’s coming in, you might be forced to borrow and take on debt. Ideally, a distributor firm should be self-sustainable, which means that all business expenses should be catered for through its revenues.
2. Increasing Customer Complaints
A jump in the number of customer complaints is one of the clearest signs that you might have to step back and reassess how you’re doing business. A business with a small number of customers, for instance, can easily provide individual attention to each one of them, and produce tailor-made solutions for them. When a business grows, however, it may be forced to cut corners, which results in an increase in customer complaints.
3. Overworked and Unhappy Employees
Are your employees taxed? Are they unhappy and, as a result, is productivity slipping? If your business is growing uncontrollably, naturally a large proportion of that added burden will have to be borne by your employees. To keep up, they might find themselves working late, for instance. This usually results in a dip in productivity, and a rise in employee absenteeism and turnover – all of which can have a negative impact on your business. You may find yourself occupied with hiring and training new staff, when other much more sensitive and important aspects of your business might need your attention.
4. Are You Overworked and Unhappy?
If you’ve been working 24/7 in order to manage your business and keep up with growing demand and the ever-increasing needs of your business, you might be overworked as well. The truth is that along with your employees, you too need time to relax, and overworking yourself will just make you hate what you do.
5. Suppliers & Vendors Can’t Keep Up
Often when a business grows too quickly, suppliers, vendors and other partners might get caught off-guard and may not be able to keep up with the increased number of demand for orders and other resources essential for the functioning and running of your business. In such cases, it might be a good idea to add to your list of suppliers, or get in touch with suppliers who might be able to cater to your growing needs in a better way.
6. Systems and Process Can’t Keep Up
Growing business demands can render your business processes and systems completely redundant. You might, for instance, need to invest in new hardware and software. Over-the-counter software might not be adequate, and old hardware systems may not be able to cope with the increase in demand – hence the need to invest in better software and hardware solutions. In addition, business process – the core of your business – and how your business runs may need to be changed.
7. Quantity Over Quality
When demand is on the rise and supply is struggling to keep up, what do many companies do? They often cut corners in many aspects of their business. One of the biggest red-flags for expanding companies is when they start prioritizing quantity over quality. Your customers will notice this shift in priorities, and you will end up losing business. Never lose sight of what makes a business successful: an emphasis on providing quality products and services.
8. Customer Defections
Your company’s ability to keep existing customers, while adding profitable ones, is a benchmark of its success. If your customers start feeling that they’re not being given proper attention, their complaints are not being handled properly, and that there’s a dip in the quality of your products and services, you might end up losing customers. Be on the early lookout for any sign of customer dissatisfaction and defection.