Your online service business will have many seasons, ups and downs, as well as, other side tracks along the journey. During one of those seasons, you will be growing. With that comes business growing pains.
What Are Business Growing Pains?
“At Management Systems, we define “Growing Pains” as the problems encountered when an organization has not been fully successful in developing its internal “infrastructure” to the extent necessary to support its size (measured in revenues or budget) and/or rate of growth.”-Management Systems
Are You In The Middle Of Growing Pains
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How To Recognize Growing Pains
Growing pains are usually recognizable because you will be feeling some type of uncomfortable symptoms.
Business Growing Pains Symptoms:
You may experience:
- Feelings of Increased Stress – when growing, because you are at full bandwidth – meaning you cannot put any more hours into your day and all of the hours are already allocated, you will likely be more stressed.
- Turning Away New Clients – you’re having difficulty accepting new clients without any additional bandwidth when you are having growing pains in your business.
- Trouble Meeting Deadlines – crucial deadlines may be missed or barely met with your attention being split among the many clients you work on.
- Consistent Feelings of Overwhelm or Read When You Think About Work – because it begins to take the joy out of the business or passion you once began.
- Trouble Communicating In General – you may find difficulty communicating with clients and friends and family. Your mind will be all over the place and you’ll find you either thought you communicated something already or forgot to completely. A project management system like Wrike, Asana, or Trello can really help with this IF you are diligent in updating it regularly.
- Client Misunderstandings and/or Problems – you are probably having more miscommunications, misunderstandings, and/or problems with clients because you no longer have the time to put into your client management. This can include simple communications from checking on them and their family to small tasks that used to discuss and now do without consulting them because you do not have the time.
- Putting Out Fires Regularly (not just occasionally) – because you are pulled in too many directions and you cannot put enough time and focus into any one project so all of them get a little of you and not your full focus.
- Unfocused Timeframes – as with #7 you are finding it difficult to focus on one client or one topic as your mind wanders through the list of clients and things you need to do.
- Unproductivity – you are not as productive as you used to be and cannot figure out why. You feel you are busy every hour but not sure what you have accomplished.
- No Processes and Systems In Place – do you have all of your processes and systems documented somewhere? This is absolutely necessary in order to take the next step in your growth. This will clog up your productivity wheel, especially when trying to add a team to help you.
I’m amazed at the lack of help for freelancers, virtual assistants, and other online service businesses that are going through these growing pains. Believe me, I’ve searched. When doing any writing I always do research to help balance and give you full information that will help you.
In preparing this article, however, almost all the ‘growing pains’ articles were centered around larger companies, financial concerns, and HR (Human Resources) problems. Although these can be relevant for online service businesses as well it is not usually the crux of the issue.
What Does This Mean
Honestly, if you are able to answer ‘yes’ or resonated with more than two of these you should be considering ways you should manage these growing pains.
Ways To Help Your Growing Pains
You are having growing pains now and want to feel better tomorrow. That’s normal. You must take it slow, however, one step at a time. Do not rush through scaling your business.
Ways To Scale:
When growing pains are pushing you to a change it is probably time to scale your business. You can begin to scale by taking these steps.
- Begin to document your processes and systems for those tasks you want to delegate first when you are able. It is wise to eventually document all of your processes and systems.
- Create a list of questions that you want to ask a prospective team member. A couple of the questions I ask via email first is
- What do you love to do (tasks related to work) and could do all day long?
- What do you really dislike and would be happy to never do again?
- These questions should help you place contracted team members on the right projects and tasks. If they like doing the task they will not only stay longer but will be much happier.
Ways To Scale Continued…
3. Put social media posts and send emails notifying your audience that you have a need for a contracted team member(s).
4. Interview prospective team members (one person at a time before interviewing another).
5. Decide on the team member
6. Prepare the contract for your subcontractor and onboarding documents
7. Send onboarding and contract to the new team member.
8. Add your new team member.
9. Set up your team in a project management system.
10. Begin delegating the tasks that you do not want to do or are not good at doing.
Growing pains are never easy and almost always cause us to change in some way. In business that means doing business in a new way. These tips will help you in the midst of those pains. If you are not there yet perhaps it will allow you to get ready so it will be much easier for you.
If you are in the midst of growing pains and do not take action you will begin to hit a proverbial flat-line wall* in your growth. This will cause a lack of ability to earn more income and will more than likely happen again and again. I have seen it over and over with clients.
So, whether you are in growing pains or are looking forward to them you can take action today with these steps.
To Your Continued Success,
*Please reach out if you need help taking your business to the next level. Do not let your business begin to hit the proverbial flat-line wall. I want to help you grow your revenue and scale your business.