Congratulations! You’ve started a company and made it through your first year… maybe even turned a profit. Every business starts somewhere. Fast growth is not always easy to handle. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you get a handle on your rapid movement. These simple steps can help you get from hanging on to the bumper to right back in the driver’s seat where you belong.

Define goals.
Growth is great, but only if it’s controlled and in the direction, you had intended. Write down where you want to be a month from now, a year from now, 3 years from now… think, “what will it take to meet these goals?” Writing down short and long-term goals can help not only clarify what success is to you but let it serve as a reminder of where you are in the process. Like life, goals can and will most likely change. And that’s OK. Revisit and update your defined goals monthly to challenge yourself and stay on track.

When you’re a start-up, you wear many hats. In fact, you may wear ALL the hats! But when business starts to grow, you will need to let go of the urge to do everything. Delegation not only maximizes your strengths and time but your team as well. Handoff time-consuming tasks that are easily teachable, allowing yourself to focus more on what you’re good at. Trust others to handle tasks the best way they know how and let go of the temptation to micromanage. Put focus ON the business rather than IN the business.

Bill faster.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients is important but so is getting paid. Paid invoices are the fuel that drives the business train. Be specific with your payment timelines to create a sense of urgency. Give your customers as much information on the invoice as possible to make the invoice easy and clear to understand. If you don’t have the technology to bill consistently and in a timely manner, invest in a useful software that can make this happen. Being able to utilize technology to take tasks off your plate will allow you to be focused on what is important and get paid faster!

Forecast financials.
Nothing can hit you harder than unexpected and unmanageable costs. Sit down and figure out what you’re going to need in the upcoming year to determine the smartest way to move forward and budget accordingly. Develop a comprehensive set of projected financial statements to help forecast future balance sheets, and anticipated borrowing. These financial statements are in fact your business financial plan. Having a financial plan allows you to track actual events against your financial plan and make adjustments as necessary as the year progresses. This is invaluable and will help keep the business out of any financial trouble.

Stop filling holes.
When your business grows, so will the need to hire more employees. All too often, the hiring process goes something like this, “We need to get a secretary in here.” And the mission begins to find a peg to fill a hole. The problem with this approach is people are not objects, so don’t start the hiring process assuming they are. It is a recipe for disaster before the first resume comes in. Instead of waiting until you need a peg, start the hiring process when you feel your business workload is healthy enough to take on another employee. Then look for a person who blends well, has the right attitude and skill set to fit into your current business framework.

My company is suffering through the growing pains, I need some help!