It’s a great feeling to see your business grow over the years. As for myself, the time has finally come where the countless hours spent learning and fine-tuning my abilities have manifested into a feasible career path on the horizon.
But with growth comes other challenges that you may not be prepared to handle. One client turns into several clients, and one project turns into several projects (and maybe several headaches). Your calendar begins to fill, but your energy begins to drain. Uh oh! You’ve hit a wall, and now the smallest tasks seem impossible to complete. So, what now?
Well, you can have a mental breakdown as you attempt to grind your way through your projects—all the while sacrificing your mental and physical well-being. Or you can take the first steps to execute your tasks in a timely, effective manner while simultaneously racking up clientele. Ultimately, it comes down to how well you manage your chaos.
Make Your Chaos Manageable
I’m guilty of taking on more than I can handle sometimes. While it’s not a bad thing all the time, ambition can distort the reality of what can be accomplished in a given timeframe. Lately, I’ve been hit with what feels like my first big wave of work, and my bad habits caught up to me quickly.
The aggressive deadlines on my calendar served as a stern reminder that discipline, proper planning, a good workflow, and communication play key roles in a business’s ability to conduct itself properly.
4 Habits for Managing Growth
Here are the habits I’ve found helpful in dealing with the demands of growth.
1. Develop Discipline
If you work from home like me, it’s easy to fall into not-so-great routines. These may include inconsistent sleep schedules, an unhealthy diet, procrastination, and more. While the benefits of being your own boss and having a remote workspace mean you can work in your pajamas, it’s not always the best thing to do. These bad lifestyle habits can transition into our work lives and cause roadblocks to progress.
Getting a good start to the workday sets a positive vibe for what’s ahead—and it all starts with discipline. For me, a good start consists of waking up at a decent hour, a nice shower, breakfast, and finally, looking at the tasks ahead. This reduces procrastination and gets me running at 110 percent.
2. Plan Ahead and Organize
Planning ahead is crucial for any company’s success. I used to take on projects as they came with no real thought about how one project may bleed into another. As my business began to grow, so did my problems with time management. It became evident that my business needed organization, so that’s exactly what I did.
Project management tools, like Trello, offer helpful features to help organize tasks in a cohesive, easy-to-follow format for the days ahead. If you prefer an old-fashioned approach, then a hand-written planner might be an effective asset.
Regardless of the tools you use, take the time once a week on a day that works for you to plan your week ahead. I find that when I physically write down my tasks vs. just marking them off in my head, I tend to follow through on them.
It’s also important to organize the work at hand. Don’t let your computer desktop look like a cluttered mess of files and folders. Instead, organize everything into a system that works for you. Make your files accessible and easy to find. Utilize sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, WeTransfer, ShareSync, and SharePoint to make file sharing convenient for you, your clients, and your team.
3. Optimize Your Workflow
When you go about your projects, it’s important to work harder and smarter than the competition. Start with an optimized workflow. Having a system in place that is useful for repetitive tasks and common projects will have you working at light speed and provide quicker turnarounds for clients.
For example, I’m involved heavily in multimedia, such as audio and video. Much of the software I use allows customization and templates that enable me to start projects as efficiently as possible. With the ability to bypass the need to tweak initial settings for every assignment, I can focus more quickly on the nuances of the project at hand. I’m able to spend more time and energy on being creative and providing a solid product instead of dealing with mundane tasks and troubleshooting.
4. Make Communication a Top Priority
Even when we do our best to be efficient in times of growth, it won’t always be easily doable. Some projects will take lots of time—and deadlines are deadlines. Maintaining a constant flow of communication with your client and team is vital for keeping everyone on the same page. It re-establishes expectations and ensures that all parties stay informed.
There will likely be times where proper planning and time management just aren’t enough to guarantee expectations. When that happens, your clients will most likely respond more positively to delays and other unforeseen circumstances if you keep them up to date rather than leaving them in the dark. Wouldn’t you want to know in advance that a project will be a day late and the reason for the holdup? I would!
Growth is fantastic—it’s much better to struggle with it than to struggle to find it. However, it can also be intimidating. Until you experience it first-hand, it’s tough to prepare for it. In the meantime, getting into the habits I shared now will set you up for success in the future. Don’t hold yourself back from greatness!
Your turn! How do you handle your company’s growth? Have you experienced any “growing pains” yourself