Small Business Growing Pains

Can a Company’s Growing Pains be Quantified?

Starting a business is hard. Growing a business is harder. Staying the course following a growth plan that could fail is scary impossible at times.

What if there was a way that we could quantify the growing pains of any company that we serve? What if we could use the results of this assessment to ease the pains as the company grows?

Such a tool exists, and it was created by Management Systems, authors of Growing Pains–I recommend the 5th Edition for consultants.

The Growing Pains Survey

The authors include a 10-point survey where each statement is to be ranked from A to E where A is ‘To a very great extent’ and E is ‘To a very slight extent’ as follows:

  1. People feel that there are not enough hours in a day.
  2. People are spending too much time putting out fires.
  3. Many people are not aware of what others are doing.
  4. People have a lack of understanding of where the company is headed.
  5. There are too few “good” managers.
  6. Everybody feels, “I have to do it myself if I want to get it done correctly.”
  7. Most people feel our meetings are a waste of time.
  8. When plans are made, there is very little follow-up, and things just don’t get done.
  9. Some people have begun to feel insecure about their place in the company.
  10. The company has continued to grow in sales, but not in profits.

The best score a company can achieve is 10. The possible outcome is scoring a 50.

Most of the companies we serve are Stage II organizations with revenues ranging from $1 to $9 million. According to the authors, the average Growing Pains score is 29 for Stage II businesses. Again, the objective is to be closer to 10, not 50.

How to Use the Growing Pains Survey

This excellent survey can be used in numerous settings. Here are some ideas:

  • Consider using for prospect clients.
  • For new clients during or right after the onboarding process.
  • For existing clients going through their annual planning process.

In all cases, consider doing the survey annually to show progress in areas requiring immediate attention.

It goes without saying that you can convert this to a spreadsheet with automatic grading and a ranking system showing the top 3 pain points. Remember, attribute, attribute, attribute. Make sure that spreadsheet references the authors and their work.

Growing Pains Survey
Title Photo by Bonnie Kittle

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