Adolescence is a trying time. It’s when an individual begins forming a fully autonomous identity, experiencing growth spurts, and making plans for their future. The same can be said for businesses.
If start-ups can be seen as ‘babies’ that are still finding their feet in the business world, more established, mid-sized firms can be deemed ‘adolescents’. These mid-sized companies already know what they’re about, but are still in the process of growing. Large corporations are then the ‘fully-fledged adults’, who are set on clear trajectories and able to take blows, manage change, and promote innovation in ways that their smaller and younger counterparts cannot.
Mid-sized companies looking to move out of adolescence to become key competitors should be aware that they are likely to experience growing pains. However, good, clear planning can ease many of these trials and help pave the way to significant business growth. Harnessing strategic market avenues, setting manageable goals, and scaling at opportune moments can further result in a positive transition.
The most successful mid-sized companies that scale up do so by implementing reproducible processes, investing in human resources’ training and development, and clarifying their brand and vision. Companies that are able to slow their growth just enough to maintain good profits while avoiding becoming overwhelmed at the speed of the transition can better prepare for their scaling. Then, when the time is right – when resources are in place, strategies and processes are formalised, and everyone from top management to entry-level workers is fully prepared for the transition – the scaling can occur.
Much like it takes an adolescent time to grow out of their ‘teenage phase’ into successful young adults, it takes time, patience, and dedication to scale a business. But if solid foundations have been put in place, the company is bound to succeed.