http://www.inc.com/magazine/201107/how-i-did-it-drew-houston-dropbox.html (accessed August 1, 2011)
The story of how DropBox went from $60 to $1.2 Million in their bank account overnight is extraordinary! Not only because of the sheer realization of the “American Dream” of having millions in your account overnight but because of one GREAT problem to have that small business owners are rarely prepared for: Unexpected Growth.
The founders of Dropbox didn’t even have a bank account or system set up to accept the millions of dollars from Sequoia Capital. I can’t say that I blame them; most business owners, including myself, can seldom phantom having that great a flow of cash available to them overnight. But now that we are aware that great things like this happen, it’s up to us to be prepared.
Unexpected growth, just like no growth or stagnant growth, can severally cripple business operations and cash flows. The key is to be PREPARED for the unexpected growth. And if you are one of a handful of business owners that are wholeheartedly optimistic about its business prospects, you should be EXPECTING unexpected growth and PREPARED for it.
From My Perspective
At Kendrick Law Practice (“KLP”) (www.kendricklaw.net), we are handling unxpected growth in a number of ways, from operations and systems management to technical support. We want to make sure that when the influx of demand for document drafting, reviewing and negotiating services becomes a reality, we are able to continue to give superior legal and business advice to our clients in a streamlined and efficient manner. Below Founder Dar’shun Kendrick details ways to handle unexpected growth BEFORE it becomes a “DropBox” problem.
Action Items to Handle Unexpected Growth:
- Evaluate your operations/systems management: Do you have the right PROCESS in place should unexpected growth occur or can the PROCESS be so easily modified so as to not disrupt production or service? For example, should KLP experience an unexpected growth in our legal and business services, we have a contingency plan in place to quickly hire contract attorneys, including emails and contacts for hiring firms that have a quick response rate as well as a fast-track tutorial in place to get them up and working within days.
- Access your practical needs: Unlike Dropbox, make sure that you have the necessary bank accounts, EIN numbers, registration and paperwork, confirmation letters, etc. to make sure that your $1.2 Million transaction goes smoothly. Act as if the money is coming tomorrow! What would you do?
- Communicate the plan to others: This plan won’t work unless you communicate it to management and employees so that they can spring into action. It wouldn’t hurt to have this plan in writing somewhere also–somewhere that is accessible and the plan is concise and easy to understand.
Discussion Question: What other items can help with unexpected growth? Do you have an experience to share?