Our guest blog writer for this month is the author of Catch!, The Rudolph Factor, and Be a Frontline H.E.R.O.— Cyndi Laurin, Ph.D. With over 25 years of expertise in leadership, organizational culture, and performance improvement, she expounds on the paradoxical nature of growth and structure, making it relatable to every business owner.
The journey from a promising startup to a thriving business is laden with critical decision-making moments throughout the evolving landscape of entrepreneurship and business ownership.
One such moment is recognizing when to shift your time, energy, and allocation of resources from simply growing your business to building a robust structure that positions your brand for long-term success.
Understanding the Growth-Structure Paradox
Before delving into the strategies for achieving a balance between growth and structure, it’s vital to understand the paradoxical nature of these two forces.
A business’s growth is essential, yet an unwavering focus on growth without a solid foundation can lead to instability and missed opportunities.
On the other hand, building a strong structure may seem like slowing down, but it’s an investment in stability and sustainability. While there is a fine balance between the two, if either gets too much time, energy, and allocation of resources, problems are likely to show up.
It’s Time to Pivot
Recognizing the opportune moment to pivot from growth to structure can be a game-changer.
It can be particularly challenging if a company has had a good run of growth with cause for celebration. Shifting the allocation of time, energy, and resources from growth to capacity building is a critical strategic decision. Knowing when to rein it in can be difficult. Here are three telltale signs that indicate a business needs to make the shift from growth to structure:
- Struggles to meet increasing customer demands
- Quality and consistency issues
- Employee turnover and burnout
Strategies to Shift from Growth to Structure
In these situations, it’s crucial to strike a balance between pursuing growth and building the infrastructure to support that growth. Allocating resources to improve operational efficiency, investing in technology, expanding physical infrastructure, or hiring and training staff can ensure the business is well-prepared to handle the demands of its growing customer base.
Recognizing the moment to shift efforts from building capacity to growth strategies sets your business up for financial success.
Conversely, shifting time, energy, and resources from building infrastructure to pursuing growth can be necessary when a business has established a solid foundation. This can be a bit easier to spot as we tend to track metrics that tell us if our growth efforts are working. Here are three telltale signs that indicate it may be time to prioritize growth over building capacity:
- Sufficient operational stability
- Expanding market demand and competitive opportunities
- Financial capacity and capital availability
Strategies to Shift from Structure to Growth
Keep in mind that the decision to shift from building infrastructure to pursuing growth should be based on a thorough evaluation of your business’s status, market conditions, and long-term strategic goals. It’s often a delicate balance between maintaining a stable foundation and taking calculated risks to grow and capture new opportunities in the market.
What’s Your Next Move?
Striking the right balance between growth and structure is pivotal to long-term success.
The Growth-Structure Paradox demands that businesses recognize when it’s time to pivot their allocation of time, energy, and resources to maintain stability while pursuing expansion.
It’s crucial to heed the signs and adapt your strategy accordingly. When scaling challenges, quality and consistency issues, or high turnover and burnout become apparent, it’s time to shift your focus from growth to structure. Conversely, when operational stability, market demand, and financial capacity align, it’s time to prioritize growth.
Whether you need to streamline operations, invest in research and development, or pursue expansion or market diversification, your business’s success hinges on your understanding the nuances of the growth-structure paradox.
As you embark upon or continue your entrepreneurial journey from startup to thriving business, remember that the journey isn’t only about growth. It’s about building a resilient structure that can support growth at every stage of your business’s life cycle.
Seeing the signs that it’s time to shift can be challenging. Determine what stage your business is in today. Take the KMP Business Life Cycle Assessment.