business growth

Should a small business grow fast or slowly?

When coming up with your business growth model, you’ll have to choose between growing quickly or growing slowly. Both can take you to your destination.

At the same time, both can lead to ruin of your business if you do not manage operations well. Business growth of the slow type could well mean that your business is dying slowly and you don’t even notice it. A fast business growth model, on the other hand, could excite you before leading to a crash and burn end to your story.

To choose between the two, it’s best to know the advantages and disadvantages each of the two have and how best they would fit your type of business.

Slow business growth

This is the most popular of the two. It’s simple and you can leave things on autopilot. The argument for a business that wants to grow slowly is ‘slow and steady wins the race‘. The other side might scoff at this line and associate you with people who say ‘money can’t buy happiness‘ and ‘something something inner beauty‘.

A business that grows slowly is one that has growth of under 15% a year. It gives you time to perfect your business model by giving you enough room to both learn from your mistakes and make few mistakes. You also get to profit faster (despite being slow) since your focus is on getting positive reading on your income statement. This, more than anything, proves that your business idea is working.

On the negative side, a business that grows slowly can easily miss opportunities that will readily be exploited by existing competition and new entrants. This situation will suppress your revenue and may mean you entirely miss the bus to your destination (which is finishing your workday at 11am).

Fast business growth

This model is more common among tech startups since they have a first-at-the-finishing-post mentality. Think about it, once you and all of your friends are on Facebook or Twitter it’s difficult to go onto another social media site. The argument here is, ‘growth is the goal of business, no?‘. But this black-and-white thinking could result in lesser loses placing football bets than gambling life savings.

A business said to grow fast is one enjoying upwards of 20% rate of growth a year. It allows the entrepreneur to capture markets quickly and get this one worry out of the way. Fast growth businesses also do well during pitches, since a quick exit is always good exit for venture capital type investors. This model allows you to have your cake and it eat in the way of thrill-filled entrepreneurship plus success.

But the first problem this type of business faces is falling short on working capital, every time. You really test your investor’s patience. This business is slow to get to profits because it bets that having a big enough market will solve the problem in the end. After all, according to HerBusiness working capital is the most important thing in business. This type of business may also crash by getting overwhelmed by growth. Perhaps it cannot meet demand anymore or its founder is short of leadership skills now that the number of employees has increased.


You choose the right model by looking at how you will cover for its negative attributes. For instance, when your venture has less or little competition its best to adopt a fast growth model. The market is there for the taking, why wait? But in a competitive space, as with most spaces, you need to take breaths first. You want to maneuver yourself into producing better products and better services.