Business Growing Pains – How To Tell It’s Time for Change

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Operations Management

Last month, we shared ways to bypass the “what got you here won’t get you there” dilemma and keep your organization heading up the mountain of success, rather than plummeting toward dysfunction or demise.

But how can you tell the difference between typical business problems that require typical solutions, and the type that are indicative of real growing pains and, therefore, require big doses of change in order for an organization to achieve full potential?

Understanding this difference is not only critical, but also difficult.

In fact, the very nature of business prevents many CEOs from seeing signs of growing pains altogether. We can get so caught up in the daily work of the running of the company that we forget to raise our heads to see what’s really happening. Or, we can become so used to bumps in the road that even an unusually rocky period appears normal.

We fail to realize that our companies are veering off course and may even be heading toward a cliff.

Fortunately, there are several tangible signs that can help you separate the typical from the terrible.

Here’s what tends to accompany true growing pains, indicating it’s time for change in service of successful growth:

The Signs of Business Growing Pains

  • PRODUCING IS LIKE SLOGGING THROUGH MUD: Everything is taking longer and processes are falling apart with high volumes.
  • THE CEO IS NO LONGER STICKY: The owner or CEO is no longer the super glue holding operations together.
  • MARTIAL LAW IS FAILING: The company is working by exceptions, rather than rules – and even though that “used to work,” it’s clearly not.
  • YOU’RE ALWAYS SAYING SORRY: There are lots of re-dos and make-goods.
  • THE PIGGY BANK HAS LOST WEIGHT:  Cash has become tight.
  • THERE ARE NUMBERS, NOT KNOWLEDGE: Data is plentiful, but information is scarce.

Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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