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Massive Growth: How Will You Handle It? Part 1

For the owner of a small business, experiencing explosive growth can be exciting. It can be the beginning of a new era for the business, and it can solidify the company’s existence in the sometimes brutal world of commerce.

In the same breath of excitement, though, massive growth can provide new challenges as entrepreneurs strive to keep up with it. This article details how three very different types of women entrepreneurs may respond to massive growth – and how their reactions may affect their businesses.

Are you prepared for explosive growth? What will you do when it happens?

Does every entrepreneur seek growth opportunities? Growth can mean more customers, more income, or more opportunities to explore new ideas. Although exciting, growth also brings its challenges, and can spiral out of control if it's not handled properly, causing a setback as big as the potential expansion

. Our research shows that the five types of female entrepreneurs have very different attitudes toward business growth (some want it, some don't!) and each will respond to growth opportunities differently. This article will examine the attitudes and reactions of Jane Dough, Merry Jane, and Go Jane Go.

Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and makes good money. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, which may be why she’s five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women fall in the category of Jane Dough.

Because Jane Dough is business-minded and pragmatic, she probably has a plan in place for handling growth. In fact, business growth is something she’s striving for, with most Jane Doughs saying they want to grow significantly within the next couple of years.

As a result, she has no doubt delegated individual tasks to specific team members, putting her team and her business in an ideal position to take advantage of the appropriate opportunities that come her way. She has a system – and it’s in place and ready to roll.

Although Jane Dough's systematic approach is one of her many strengths, there is a flip side to high levels of delegation. Sometimes Jane Dough relies too much on the system. She moves quickly to fuel her business growth, so she may not always be in touch with what's happening within every functional area.

When large opportunities come knocking while Jane Dough is distracted, weaker parts of the system can break down. 
The solution: When massive growth arrives - and it will - a Jane Dough entrepreneur should gather her team for a quick check-in, making sure everyone and every system is aligned and ready to do its part in creating success.

In doing so, she'll make sure resources are allocated appropriately and can create plans to strengthen any weak spot

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  A Merry Jane tends to be “building a business on the side”—in addition to a day-job, or a focus on family or other pursuits. She doesn’t have a high personal income from her business, but she also tends to be working less than 40 hours a week, and she loves the freedom her business affords her.

Because Merry Jane's focus is more on time freedom than on "big money," major growth opportunities can be a daunting proposition. While many women in this group dream of a day when they land the mega-customer, Merry Jane does not. Although many know they are capable of building a much larger business, now is not the time. During interviews, when asked what they would do if faced with the chance to take on a big new account, most quickly came to the conclusion that unless they could manage the account in their own way and time, they would let the opportunity pass them buy rather than disrupt their lives.

However, many Merry Janes admit they would like their business to be more profitable, wanting more money without much additional work. Therefore, when faced with a growth opportunity, Merry Jane can consider several options:
 
* She can hire someone to take over some of the more mundane, day-to-day business chores, like bookkeeping and responding to customer e-mails, freeing more of her time to pursue the new business without taking up more time?
* She can pursue the new opportunity at higher rates, therefore increasing her profit. This may mean letting go of less profitable customers or delegating their care to someone else.
* Or, she can stand firm, turning the immediate opportunity down, knowing that at some point in the future, she may have more time available for new customers.


Whatever she decides, Merry Jane should stay true to the reasons she loves her business now so that she doesn't add undue stress and time-pressure to her already busy life.

Go Jane Go is passionate about her work, and has no problem marketing and selling herself, so she has plenty of clients—but she’s struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and may really struggle saying “no”.  Because she wants to “say yes” to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and possibly others who are important to her.

Overall, most Go Jane Go women don't seek out growth opportunities because they are already fairly busy. However, when an opportunity crosses their path, they will feel compelled to "make it work somehow." Go Jane Go truly wants to help those who need her products or services, so it is difficult for her to turn them away. And because she's excellent at multi-tasking, this Jane may underestimate the time that will be required or may justify sacrificing personal time in order to help someone else.

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