Growth is good – even when it hurts sometimes

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The last 3 years have been full of advice for companies were struggling to survive. But what about companies that are growing? It’s been a while since I’ve written about the challenges of growth – so it’s about time.

Despite the flat overall employment market, some areas are experiencing growth and even shortages (think healthcare, technology, skilled trades, etc.).  Is your job site experiencing an uptick in business? Then here are some things to think about:

  • Hiring: It’s like talking about oil to Exxon, but in fact, hiring is one of the hardest things you will do. Finding that right salesperson or tech genius or versatile customer rep is extremely hard. As we all know, it’s usually not so hard getting applicants – it’s hard getting the right ones. I’m a big fan of screening questions on the job application, and an initial phone screen. It also helps to know yourself and your company. What kind of person is going to thrive in your environment?
  • Money: Isn’t it interesting how making more money always involves finding more money to spend? It’s not uncommon to have imbalances in cash flow and ongoing needs (like that new hire, for example). My advice: stay close to your bank. Don’t show up once a year. Make sure you know at least a couple of the key officers. Banking locally is also useful – a local bank is often more customer-focused, and more flexible. And, of course, don’t forget about non-bank funding sources, such as friends and family (although these sometimes come with strings you don’t want).
  • Focus: It’s great when things are working – until they don’t. I am a pessimist – and that’s held me in good stead. Assuming the worst keeps your eyes on the core business. Don’t confuse ‘focus’ with ‘obsession’, however. Make sure that your core business is working – and then build some new business.
  • Time:  Time is the biggest enemy of any business. Why? Because lack of it (whether actual or perceived) prevents you from paying attention, thinking ahead, problem-solving, and growing. If you’re running from one fire to another, you’re not a hero – you’re a goner. Make time for yourself and your coworkers to think about and execute on long-term projects. Make time to actually get to the root problems.
  • Goals: Hey, just because business is booming doesn’t mean that goals should fly out the window. In fact, when money is pouring in, you really need goals to keep you moving forward. Why? Because lots of money also means lots of ideas that you wouldn’t have given a 2nd glance to a few months earlier now suddenly seem worthwhile. ‘After all’, you say to yourself, ‘we can handle a flop. We’ve got money in the bank.’ Wrong. Bad ideas always suck. Really.

I hope and trust that this year will be a prosperous, growing year for your site.

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