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A bittersweet scenario: Dealing with rapid growth

Bruce Croxon

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About Bruce Croxon

Bruce Croxon is a digital pioneer and owner of several successful small businesses, including one that sold for 180-million dollars. He currently helms Round13, a company dedicated to incubating and investing in start-ups. He’s also an investor on CBC Dragons’ Den. He’s partnered with Sage to help provide advice and expertise on getting small businesses off the ground.

Across the board, one of the things small business owners want to do most is grow their company. That way, they can achieve more success and pull in bigger revenue at the end of the day. This tends to lead to many more lucrative opportunities well into the future.

But sometimes success that comes too fast and at too high a volume can be dangerous. Think of it this way: Eating a few pieces of candy is nice, but too many and you’ll probably get sick. It can be a similar situation at a startup. If the growth is massive in the early days, chances are good that the leader isn’t going to be able to start putting out a lot more product in a short amount of time. Demand will exceed supply and people may start going to other companies to get what they want.

So what should new small business owners do to handle rapid expansion within their startup? There are a few tips followed by industry veterans to keep cool and stretch out the wealth.

Take a more conservative approach

As “Dragons’ Den” star (seasons 6 through 8) and Round 13 Capital co-founder Bruce Croxon recommended, it’s often best to rely on tried and true, slow and steady methods when success seems like it might be getting out of hand.

“You can decide early on that this is a lifestyle business, that as long as you make a good living for yourself, grow your business slowly, take a relatively conservative to growing - that can go on a very long time despite the competition,” he stated. “You can survive. Not every company has to be the No. 1 or 2 in its space.”

This can mean not taking drastic measures by ramping up hiring and making potentially rash decisions.

Save money when possible - don’t get too attached

While it can certainly be exciting when a new startup starts achieving massive success, in most cases, this won’t last forever, so owners should prepare for a dip at some point. It’s what they do during these times of expansion that can determine whether or not a company will survive the off-season.

“One piece of advice that I would give is when things are going really, really well - don’t get too attached to that, right, because it’s not going to last,” Croxon noted. “The life of a small business person is that there’s going to be a downside and you’re gonna experience it probably sooner rather than later.”

 

 

 

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