The Dangers of Growing Too Fast
Hypergrowth. If you have not yet heard of the term, it mean company growth accelerated far beyond normal expectations. There are companies that grow quickly, but a company undergoing hypergrowth will see rapid increases in demand for products and services. This is very common in Chinese markets because of their global economic power and the massive size of their population.
Not Everything Is Positive
While hypergrowth may seem both profitable and exciting, such rapid growth causes a number of problems that are not easily managed. The first is customer satisfaction and responsiveness. With skyrocketing growth, the pressure not only to deliver but to address legitimate customer concerns greatly increases. A company may gain customers, but if it loses them through subpar service or product quality, the momentum can quickly be lost.
Unexpected growth also places extreme pressure on hiring enough people to do the essential tasks. It is not just a numbers game. The quality must be there as well, as the hiring of employees who fail to meet company and product standards will cause system wide problems. If new hires are found to be substandard, then they will have to be replaced, which requires more time and reduced short-term productivity.
The new hire problem is an issue, but an equally important issue is retaining key people. There will be enormous expectations placed on managers and employees alike during rapid expansion, but the rewards will normally be down the road. This means that your best talent will be strained, yet the company will be depending on these key people to adjust to the hypergrowth. It is likely you will have some turnover, and replacing their experience and knowledge will not be easy.
One way to meet the challenges of hypergrowth is to treat the company from an entrepreneurial perspective. This can be accomplished by creating small groups that are assigned to deal with critical problems, similar to a startup business which finds a niche market to sell to. This allows creativity throughout the company to solve the immediate problems while maintaining the core operations which need to continue working normally.
Another important approach is to make sure the company does not lose its original identity. Great success comes with great responsibility, and rapid growth often leads to companies trying to change their established brand in favor of something newer. What is missed in this thought process is that the reason the company is successful is because of their original identity.
Righting the Ship
Perhaps the most important thing you can take away from an experience with hypergrowth is that because it comes so unexpectedly, you will learn how to deal with the times when the direction of the company will waver. All the upheaval across the board will test and strengthen your management skills.
Adjusting to success does not have to happen all at once, so learning the lessons along the way will help you deal with the dangers and right the direction of the company.