As your organization grows and scales, there are blind spots that sneak up on you. Things were going well in your organization; you were cruising along, enjoying the growth and sustainability and then … BAM! New problems and opportunities seemingly come out of nowhere.
Each stage of an organization (startup, growth-stage and maturity) has unique opportunities and challenges. Just when you think you’ve figured out how to navigate one stage, the growth and scale you’ve worked so hard to achieve results in a whole new set of challenges you didn’t anticipate. Blind spots.
Here are the top five financial blind spots for growth-stage organizations:
You’ve Reached Your Limit, and You Know There’s Got to Be a Better Way
It’s common in the growth stage to find yourself (and your team) consumed with activities that creep beyond your competency. Carrying out roles and responsibilities within your organization that don’t match your skills and desires is risky. If someone else wouldn’t pay you to process payroll, keep the books, design your website or screen resumes, for example, your organization probably shouldn’t be paying you to do those things either.
Your Gut Feeling for What’s Happening In Your Organization is No Longer Accurate
Leaders often have, in their minds, an expectation of what the numbers should be. As your organization grows and scales, you can no longer keep all the financial details in your head. You need accurate, relevant financial reports that provide a clear picture of how your organization really makes money. Without this information, you can end up with lots of activity, even high gross revenue, but little sustainability.
You Are Spending a Lot of Time Putting Out Fires Instead of Preventing Them
As you add more people and more activities in your organization, it becomes harder to identify the underlying issues. Suddenly, it becomes challenging to tell whether you’re fixing symptoms or the underlying causes. You certainly have to deal with the acute issues in your organization — but you also need a way to prevent, or more quickly detect, future issues.
You Have More Cash Than You’re Used to, and You Don’t Want to Waste It
As your organization grows and becomes more sustainable, you’ll find yourself with a new problem — excess cash. Is more money really a problem? It certainly can be. When things are going well, it’s easy for costs to creep in. It’s also easy for inefficient processes to become the status quo. The comfort of excess cash can cause you to undermine your own success.
You Have a Vision for Your Future, but You’re Not Sure If It Pencils Out
You have a clear vision for your organization. You have focused strategies to get you there. Or, at least that’s what you hope. Without crunching the numbers, it’s hard to be confident about whether your strategies will actually get the results you’re planning on. You need financial projections to support your strategy. Otherwise, you’re relying on a strategy of hope. Though it’s a wonderful virtue, hope is not an effective strategy
What to Do and Where to Start
As a leader, you want to move forward strategically. But after reading about the five common blind spots growing organizations face, you probably realize that one or more of these obstacles stands in your way.