Growing Pains

Business growing pains and three ideas to help solve them.

May 03, 2023

When I was a child I often experienced growing pains - pains in my knees that were a result of an active young boy growing up. These pains were usually mild, but occasionally kept me awake at night and required soothing and medicine. I was fortunate to have a mother who patiently stayed awake with me until the pain subsided and I could sleep again.

Sometimes running a business is a lot like the experience of a growing child. Businesses experience growing pains that are often small little hurdles to be overcome but occasionally are much larger. These significant obstacles can keep us awake at night worrying. They require meaningful solutions that address specific concerns. Significantly, these business growing pains often require outside help that listens to concerns and works to understand and solve problems.

How can you help your business through its growing pains? Here are three ideas that might help:

Make sure your tools work for you and not the other way around

Business technology should enhance your business processes and not dictate them. For example, payroll preferences such as deductions, benefit hours, and payment options should be set by your business and not by your payroll service (if out-sourced) or your payroll software. Similarly, business data should be accessible using methods that the business dictates and not limited by the business software. If a business' progress is stopped or slowed because the tools are in the way, it is time to change the tools.

Identify choke points

Choke points are limitations to getting things done in a timely and efficient manner. A choke point could be a limitation on simultaneous users of a software product or vendor that is constantly behind schedule. Solving choke points may require diversifying supply routes, improving manufacturing equipment, or changing business software.

Incorporate improvements in technology

This is often difficult to achieve because bringing in new technological developments can be disruptive. But like the bitter aspirin I used to take as a child, improvements in technology are often the solution to a better night's sleep. Changing technology for merely the sake of change is wasteful, but planned changes to meet identified problems result in real improvements. Every industry, from accounting offices to zoo keeping, has been positively impacted by improvements in technology. Consider ways that your business could benefit from better technology and then balance that against the costs to obtain it.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to your business and solving its growing pains. The good part of growing pains is that you are growing! Hopefully this helps guide you to the solutions your business needs and you can get a good night's sleep.