“Triple your sales in 30 days… guaranteed!”

“Experience explosive growth!”

“Double your profits overnight!”

Am I the only person in the world who gets e-mails with screaming headlines like these, or do you receive them as well?

It seems like every other day I receive an e-mail from somebody making some bold claim about how they can help me double my profits, have runaway sales growth or become such a great leader that my people will want to cast a bronze statue of me in my honor. Please!

There must be enough people who respond to these claims that they’re worth the trouble to send, but I’m not one of them. Not because I think they don’t work (can’t wait for that statue of me in my lobby), but because of what can happen if they do.

On the surface, I suppose it only makes sense for these e-mails to make outlandish claims in the hopes they might get my attention. I’m not sure how many people would open an e-mail that claims to help them get “safe, steady, profitable growth.” While this approach to business might make a lot of sense, it’s not very sexy.

Damage control

The problem with most explosions, including explosive growth in business, is that it’s usually uncontrolled. Explosions cause damage to property and hurt people. It’s no different than with uncontrolled growth in a company.

If I’m going to triple my sales in 30 days, especially if my business is a larger one, I’d better have a brother-in-law who’s a banker to grease the skids between his bank vault and my checking account. I’m going to need the cash!

Too often, business owners don’t realize just how much cash it takes to fund a fast-growth company until they find themselves in a financial bind. On the other hand, strong and steady growth usually gives a company time and cash to fund its growth through operations.

Once I have the cash to fund my explosive growth, I’ll have to find people to do the work. So, to help me staff my company I’ll want to make sure I have a staffing or recruiting agency on “speed dial” to find me enough bodies.

I’ll also need to make sure my training program runs like a spit-shined military boot camp so I can get all those new recruits up to speed quickly.

Since I’ve never run a company the size of the one mine will apparently become overnight, I’ll need an instant chief executive officer (CEO) makeover to give me the skills to run this company. But it will have to be fast. I’m thinking along the lines of a Vulcan mind meld.

Pace yourself

As I’ve stated many times in the past, a small business grows at the pace its owner grows.

When the business’s growth temporarily outstrips its owner’s skills, it invariably falls back to the leader’s level of competence. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can bring a lot of pain and turmoil to the company.

As you consider the “triple your sales” or “explosive growth” scenarios for your business, consider one more. Give some thought to the “steady, profitable” scenario.

While you might not get the adrenaline rush you would by cavorting with your banker brother-in-law or feeling like a sci-fi hero, you might get to go where many business owners have never gone before… on vacation with their families.

Chuck Violand understands the unique challenges of small businesses, having owned a commercial cleaning and water damage mitigation company for 26 years. He founded Violand Management Associates (VMA) in 1988 as a consulting, teaching and training resource for owners of small businesses. To learn more about VMA's services and programs, visit www.Violand.com or call (330) 966-0700.