Managing BizOps Through Rapid Growth

Managing a business through rapid growth can be like guiding a ship through a field of icebergs. With the right strategy in place, managing can be both successful and rewarding.

Managing BizOps Through Rapid Growth

Managing BizOps through rapid growth can be a daunting task, especially for people who haven’t been through the process. Yet it is still a challenge for those who have gone through it and have a better understanding of the risks involved. The process in and of itself demonstrates the need to design the business to support rapid growth from the onset.

Know that the Business is a System

As stated, it is critical that the business architecture is designed to support the organization’s strategic initiatives and direction. This means that the business is designed to support scale, but also resilient enough to make adjustments and keep moving through difficult seasons in the business. Keep in mind that the business is a system and while there are (or will be) different functional areas of the business – finance, business development, HR and production – changes in each area will impact other areas. A successful marketing campaign will increase the number of leads for the sales department, which will impact products & services, which in turn impacts finances and eventually HR. While the order may change from one business to the next, you’ll want to have an idea of what to expect and what to do.

Know Your Numbers

Understanding business finance is like having the keys to the candy store. Business finances tell the story of the business’ health and allow it to be proactive in planning activities. If you have cash flow projections established, when the numbers come in higher or lower than projected, there is a clearer understanding of how the business needs to react. Finance also tells us what we need to do in order to achieve the financial goals for the company.

Key Performance Indicators are going to be related to the story that finance can tell us. KPI’s should be set up to help us understand how healthy the business is. They can be used in finance, but also in other areas of the business such as how quickly we are able to deliver our product or service, customer satisfaction scores or employee turnover, depending on where the business needs to focus.

Keep in mind: You can’t measure what you aren’t tracking. If the data can be presented in a practical way that allows the company to make decisions on it, it can be the tool that is required to allow managers to make the right decisions for the company.

Know Your People

Having managed people for over 30 years, team members are often the most expensive and difficult part of running a company. You are recruiting, onboarding, training, evaluating, promoting, moving, paying people, and providing benefits. It requires multiple specializations in order to do it well and do it right. Simply recruiting a new person is taxing on the business. Then if the person who is hired leaves, or is terminated, the process starts all over again.

Managing your company through rapid growth requires that you have all of these processes and tools in place. You’ll probably want to have vendors who can manage some of these activities. Keep in mind that one of those hires might be part of the leadership team, whose recruiting, onboarding, training, etc., will be much more expensive and take much longer.

Know Your Culture

Another part of the people factor is the company culture. If you think about your business like a community, your goal is to bring people into the community who will align with and stand for what the community is about. So first and foremost, the community needs to have a why. Why does it exist? What is it supposed to do? For whom?

As the company grows, you must be intentional about maintaining this culture, in both word and action. The people who you bring into the company must contribute to it. The people who don’t contribute to it should leave the business, as they will bring others down in the process.

Know Your Processes

Processes should not be informal. They should not change each time a new person joins the organization. Everyone should have access to how to do things, and how they do things should be monitored.

This doesn’t mean that processes should never change; you will probably see opportunities to make processes more efficient or divide jobs between multiple people or even adopt some automations. Artificial Intelligence can be adopted in some areas to get better information from data or even refine existing processes based on the company’s data.

Further, I am a strong believer in the playbook, which is a less formal document that works within the construct of the processes but applies to specific situations. It is a learning and growing document that is shared between team members that allows the team to agree on certain approaches.

Know Your Customers

You could probably point to a dozen companies who, when they opened, had one level of relationship with their customers, but then something inferior to that when the business starts to morph. I can think of a number of software companies that were very hands-on and customer-focused when they started out but felt the need to change things after they got to a certain growth stage.

The companies that will be the most successful are those that are able to maintain or even enhance their customers’ experience despite the changes in the business. This is not something that will happen by accident. Like the other areas of the business, leaders will want to plan for how to manage the customer experience and ensure that they have a way to track performance. Surveys are one method, but repeat business, average customer sale and referrals are all trackable metrics to gauge performance.

Know Your BizOps Strategy

The purpose of strategy is to create a roadmap or set of objectives to enable a company to achieve some goal, ideally to achieve some level of marketplace advantage. With respect to managing rapid growth, the strategy is going to act as your guide as the company goes through changes. You will have already mapped out what will happen in HR, Finance, business development and your products. You will have defined the KPI’s that will dictate change and allow you to make the best decisions for the company.

Your strategy is going to be agile and allow you to make changes as you see changes in the business. Change in each area is not going to be linear, but as stated earlier, change in one area is going to impact the others to greater or lesser extents. To manage BizOps through rapid growth is going to require understanding what changes will be made and when to make them.

Managing BizOps through rapid growth is complex and requires constant attention to the environment. Mistakes will be made. The unexpected will happens. The models won’t be perfect. You’ll likely have an 80% or so confidence rate in any decision. Nevertheless, the data will tell the truth. The smart manager will have the framework, the strategy, and the willingness to take the necessary steps to successfully drive the organization through what is typically the most complex, risky, and unpredictable time in a business’s existence.

Aepiphanni is a Business Consultancy that provides Advisory, Management Consulting and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.

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