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When Growing Is a Pain: Structural Growing Pains and How to Stay Ahead

Ask any small-business owner what he sees as the major challenges to growing his business, and chances are he'll say: winning more sales. Ask any medium- or large-business owner what her major challenges have been, however, and she'll probably say: structural growing pains -- putting into place the necessary processes and structure to accommodate a higher volume of business. In fact, one of the most common reasons businesses plateau at a certain level is their inability -- or unwillingness -- to develop the structure needed for growth.

But aligning structural changes with sales growth is not simple. It is often more of an art than a science. The systems, processes, staff, and organization changes needed to grow are ongoing and dictated by myriad factors such as the nature of the business, its capital requirements and, ultimately, customer demands. Nonetheless, certain structural growth concerns -- excluding financing and office/production space issues -- are shared among all growing...

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