7 downsides (Yes, downsides!) to company growth

By Kelly Batke

2 min read

Finally, your dreams of running a profitable company came true. Now that the hard work is over you can finally sit back and do less right? WRONG!

With many companies struggling to survive, whining about growth may seem ridiculous, but rapid and untamed expansion can put pressure on employees and resources, as well as financial and leadership structures. In other words, if your change and growth isn’t managed effectively, you aren’t really further ahead than you were before.

Here are some of the common challenges associated with company growth:

Compromised Quality
Quality is often the very first thing to decline. When the quality of your products and services drop, you will soon have customer complaints which inevitably lead to losing customers to your competitors down the street.

Loss of Control
As a leader you are most likely invested in overseeing and controlling all fundamental aspects of the business, but this is harder to maintain during times of quick growth and expansion. Other levels of management suffer too as they begin operating reactively rather than proactively due to increased pressure.

Loss of Connection with Employees
When there were only 10 employees it was easy to know the name of all of your employees’ kids and family pets, but when you have 100 employees, it isn’t that easy. Smart leaders understand the value of staying personally connected to their employees.

Lack of Organizational Clarity
When your employees were all in the same room, clarity was obvious, but expansion into different offices and location changes the organizational clarity. New management may also confuse and challenge employee hierarchy.

Inexperienced Employees
You may have your employees to thank for helping to grow your business, but does this same team have the leadership experience to take your company to the next level? Developing your employees into good managers and leaders is just as necessary for sustainable growth as hiring the right people.

Broken or Nonexistent Infrastructure

When a company expands rapidly, operations can’t always scale to meet the new demand. Some businesses will attempt to make small incremental improvements while others put their faith in pursuing new architectures and technologies. The result is often an infrastructure that is held together with too much chewing gum and bailing wire, creating an even bigger mess than when you started.

Declining Morale
Employees may begin taking more sick days—some of these as a result of workplace stress, but mostly because they just don’t care anymore. They may even quit, taking with them valuable knowledge. Your workers might also turn to job forums like Glassdoor to voice concerns, which inevitably leads to damaged reputation and future recruitment challenges.

Being part of a fast growing company can be one heck of an experience. At the end of the day we ALL want growth because growth is exciting! But don’t be fooled into a false sense of security just because sales are strong and revenues are up. If your growth is not managed properly it can be crippling to your organization.

Do you work for a fast growing company? If so, what have you done to manage your growth?


Kelly Batke

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