Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business

Growth is usually good… But if it is not controlled growth, it simply will not be sustainable.

Growth is usually good…

But if it is not controlled growth, it simply will not be sustainable.

In this blog, Pitfalls to Avoid When Growing Your Business, First Class Tax outlines several pitfalls to avoid when growing your business – especially in a high growth scenario. It’s all about managing the growth properly.

We have had many clients over the years that experienced high growth – but they could barely make payroll.

With a pipeline of significant sales, how is this possible…?

What Happens in a High Growth Scenario?

So, what happens in a high growth scenario? It should be all good news… The problem is that many times the decision makers of a high growth company have never experienced high growth. Sometimes, these can be start-ups or a business that has developed a new product.

If you have not experienced it, then it really is hard to imagine all the things that can take place.

Example of a High Growth Scenario

Let’s look at an example of a high growth scenario in a made-up company…

You are a manufacturer and you own a manufacturing facility. You have 50 employees before the company is about to explode in growth.

Your Sales Manager / Director  brings you new contracts that will significantly change the size of your company.  These contracts will double, triple, or even quadruple your business in the next 18-24 months.

So, no worry about generating sales….

But there are several questions that need to be asked and pitfalls to avoid in this company.

1. Inventory: How are you going to fill all those orders?

You need to purchase a lot of inventory of raw material. In addition, your purchasing transactions just tripled in dollars and quantity. Finally, you have enough machines to manufacture items for the next 12 months… But next year, you will need to acquire more machines to keep up with demand.

2. Labour: What about labour?

The purchasing person is working already 50 hour weeks, and you know you will need to hire another purchasing person. Your plant labour needs to increase to compensate with the increased workload.

Right now, your 3 person accounting team includes 2 bookkeepers and a controller. You realise you need a cost accountant.

3. Systems, Process and Procedures

You have used a basic accounting system for 10 years, but you realise that you have outgrown the accounting system. It is not the right system because it does not handle cost accounting or standard costs. You want to integrate purchasing and inventory modules.

For years, you kept inventory and work-in-process on spreadsheets. Now, the dozens of spreadsheets are not reconciling. It’s time to automate inventory.

4. Accounting

You have run your business on a hybrid cash/accrual system, never really got to full accrual accounting, and never really worried about proper, audited Financial Statements. Maybe you should…
You never considered having your financial statements audited – however, with all this growth, you might sell one day. Having your financial statements audited would add value to your business.
Your company is growing so much, you need more than financial statements that tell you what happened in the past. Now, you need projections, budgets, and dashboards.

It’s time for a strategic financial partner.

5. Human Resources

Your admin person that did a great job all these years is now dealing with 3 or 4 times as many
employees. It’s time to hire someone that has a good understanding of HR.

Payroll was done in house. Now with so many hourly people and manual timesheets, it’s time to upgrade and integrate payroll to the accounting system or have it outsourced.

Consider automated timekeeping and get away from the multiple spreadsheets.

6. Legal and Tax

Your new sales take you out of your home state. Now, you are selling across the county.

You had to hire additional people on the ground in the other States & Territories – payroll tax has now become more complicated. Are you paying the correct taxes, not paying them, or over paying them?

You developed a new process or Intellectual Property. Did you register this? Did your Lawyer suggest maybe creating a new legal entity that has the I.P.?

By creating the new legal entity or new legal entities, did you realise you just created a lot of
complex accounting work by having all those legal entities?

7. What is your exit strategy

You will be quadrupling the size of your business in the next 2-3 years. You thought to yourself one day… I might want to sell this business.

What does it take to sell your larger company?

It takes time to set a strategy for an exit. It takes time to “professionalise” management and your back office.

Do you have a succession plan so that the business does not look like a one man show?

Do you have a 3-year budget with projections?

How to Have Sustainable High Growth

We have hit on some of the basic topics that come up in a high growth scenario. There are many more things to consider.

The first thing that comes to mind is how are you going to pay for all this?
Do you have sufficient working capital?

Sometimes, you can manage working capital and have sustainable growth.

Many times, you need some sort of financing because of the timing differences in working capital. Cash and working capital are key to the sustainable growth.

But just as important is having the right people. Not just having the right people on the bus… But having them in the right seat on the bus is critical. Not everyone is meant to sit in the same seat in a larger company. This applies to the management team as well as employees.


  • In order to have sustainable high growth that will allow you to sleep well at night consider the above
  • items but you must have the following…
  • Enough working capital
  • The right people in the right seats “on the bus”
  • More and different systems, process, and procedures
  • A strategic plan that will allow you to have a sustainable bigger company

Projections are a helpful way to grow sustainably and avoid an uncontrollable high growth scenario. 

First Class Tax provide cash flow forecasting / Budgeting and growth planning for dozens of
companies each year.

Unit 5 /12 Navigator Pl, Hendra, Queensland 4011.

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