Last month Kimberly Weisul at Inc Magazine published a smart article on Managing Fast Growth. Using real examples from the Inc 500 she illustrated some great scaling issues and solutions. The issues raised are so important I’ve summarized them below:
Case study #1 Black Elk Energy – Developing Gas Fields
2008 Revenue $13m to 2011 Revenue $340m –
Scaling Issue – Business Outgrows its staff
- Symptom: They were doing their jobs but they weren’t measuring what they were doing, managers lacked the metrics they needed to boost the company’s efficiency and productivity
- Solution: Assigning difficult tasks to allow the employee to understand their skills gap -then bringing in external senior managers to deal with the issue, thus reducing stress.
Case Study #2 – FM Facilities Maintenance – Runs facilities for multi- location clients
2008 Revenue $36.9m to 2011 Revenue $349.9m
Scaling Issue – You wait too long to hire
- Symptom: Hiring reactively.
- Solution: Bring account managers on 120 days before you truly need them. Let them absorb the culture and training.
If possible relate it to the sales pipeline.
In FMs case recruiting the best all round people often means recruiting from the military.
Case Study #3 – OtterBox – Manufactures protective cases for hand-held devices
2008 Revenue $10m to 2011 $347m
Scaling Issue -Your business lacks the right systems
- Symptom: Long awaited Galaxy S III – blew their chance by failing to get their cases to retailers on time. 2 Weeks late.
- Solution: More systematic way of designing, manufacturing, and shipping product. New system to be launched Jan 2013.
Case Study #4 – The problem is you
- Symptom: Entrepreneurs lack the experience needed to guide their organization
- Solution: Gary Kunkle, economist and research fellow at the Edward Lowe Foundation’s Institute For Exceptional Growth Companies suggests – creating Advisory Boards, joining peer groups however he admits these often fail to address fundamental questions for entrepreneurs. Who am I? Who should I be?