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How to Handle an Overwhelming Business Growth Spurt

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Change is a constant and fundamental aspect of the business world and our lives. It is something that happens continuously all around us, whether we notice it or not. How businesses, at every level of development, react to change is often what determines whether or not they are able to survive and grow.

Like children, businesses have different needs at different stages of their development. During times of rapid growth, business owners may find themselves overwhelmed, as parents often feel during a child’s growth spurt. A business growth spurt, although exciting, can be chaotic and unpredictable, much like a baby’s or a toddler’s. Research shows that 40-50% of startup founders end up leaving their own companies due to the challenges of managing growth.

Related: How to Keep Pace With a Fast-Growing Business

What makes growth spurts so tricky to navigate?

While a business may be successful, its infrastructure is not necessarily set up to support rapid growth. Growth in sales, revenues, clients, leads, user acquisition or demand may put a strain on a business’s management, financial, organizational, technical or human infrastructure. A strain that if not handled right or in time, can cause a business to choke.

For example, we often see companies invest series dollars in an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version of a technology product by outsourcing it to inexpensive offshore development shops. Then comes the growth: Suddenly, that product they invested so much in and built a user base or a client base off of, is collapsing because it has not been developed to scale. This becomes one very costly mistake — not only do they now have to invest in developing it all over again, but they also must continue to maintain that MVP on crutches and band-aids while developing a more robust solution. It’s expensive, time-consuming and risky, not to mention wasteful.

Strains in scaling can cause delays, disruption and dysfunction, all of which may lead to clients walking away and lasting reputational harm.

Many business owners find it difficult to imagine the challenges that success may bring. How could success possibly be bad? Well, in most cases, small business owners simply lack the experience or knowledge to manage a scaling process appropriately, often resulting in one of these three common behaviors:

  1. They recognize the need for experienced help when it’s too late and damage has already been done.

  2. They identify the need for help but hire the wrong help.

  3. They bring on appropriate help but fail to implement the necessary and often painful changes.

In my experience, most businesses seek help when it is too late and some damage has already been done; they are in trouble, are drowning and are in crisis mode. In fact, only about 1% of our clients act proactively, planning ahead for growth and preventing the problem from occurring, compared to the 99% who are simply reacting and seek help when the problem had already gotten out of hand and needs to be fixed. The most common reason is financial: Business owners are hesitant to set aside a significant amount of money to address a problem they don’t yet have. In other cases, they may simply believe that they’ll be able to handle the growth on their own. The problem is, that at that point when we come in to help them, we have to continue flying the plane while fixing the burning engine — only exacerbating the challenge the business is experiencing.

If a global health crisis has taught us anything, it’s that embracing change and proactively planning its implementation is crucial to surviving. By being proactive, businesses can be better equipped to handle the unpredictable twists and turns of the business world.

So, how can business owners prevent and better handle the challenges they inevitably face when experiencing growth?

Related: How to Handle a Sudden Growth Spurt in Your Business

1. Invest in leadership experts with relevant experience

According to a CBInsights analysis, a significant portion of businesses fail due to not having the right team. Fortunately, companies today have access to solutions such as fractional leadership, which allows them to bring on experienced and knowledgeable executives to support their growth at a manageable cost. These industry experts can help businesses navigate challenges associated with rapid growth without the trial-and-error often associated with leadership in growing businesses.

2. Take advantage of advancements in the business landscape

The rise of remote work has opened up new possibilities for businesses looking to bring on top talent. According to Global Workplace Analytics, a majority of the workforce (56%) is now able to work from home at least part-time. This remote work revolution provides businesses with the opportunity to access a wider pool of professionals with specialized industry expertise. By embracing remote work, businesses can ensure that they are not compromising on quality or experience when it comes to managing their growth, but rather leveraging the best-suited help for their needs.

Related: Bust Through Painful Growth Spurts by Readying Your Business Now

3. Leverage modern technology to simplify and streamline your operation

Modern technology has made it easier for businesses to support and manage their growth. Today, businesses have access to a wide range of tools that can help them operate more efficiently. Tools such as CRM, Analytics, HRIS, Project Management, Time Tracking, Billing and ecommerce are available and accessible. By leveraging such tools, businesses can streamline their internal processes and free up valuable time and resources to focus on driving growth. In fact, according to Monday.com, 54% of employees believe that automation could help them save at least five hours a week by eliminating the need to complete mundane tasks.

By utilizing these strategies, businesses can not only survive but thrive in the face of change, so don’t let rapid growth overwhelm your business. Take control, and make it a success! Growing a business is never easy, but with proactive planning and a commitment to investing in your company’s future, the process can be rewarding and even enjoyable.

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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