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E-retailer

Brosa’s Ivan Lim talks rapid growth

By Ivan Lim

When your business is experiencing rapid growth, previous processes and system implementations no longer work – these past processes simply break down with higher volume.

It has been a whirlwind 16 months since we secured a $2M investment from local VC fund AirTree Ventures. To some degree we were not prepared for the rapid growth the company has experienced – averaging month on month growth of 30 per cent – but as we are maturing we are fast learning to always look a little further ahead and always plan that little more in advance.

While I am a firm believer in the idea that you are never going to be 100 percent prepared as a business (and if you are, you are not moving fast enough), the challenges your business faces throughout these critical growth phases will become your greatest learnings moving forward.

Here are four key takeaways from our growth journey over the last 16 months:

Processes and systems

When your business is experiencing rapid growth, previous processes and system implementations no longer work – these past processes simply break down with higher volume. The best thing your business can do is recruit with this in mind. Do not hire people who already know how to do everything, hire people who will learn fast and who will evolve with your business.

Recruitment

When your business is growing at such a fast rate it is natural that you want help right there and then. It may appear a more convenient solution to compromise on what the business needs long term and hire on the spot to meet immediate demands, but always keep in the back of your mind what the business needs to flourish in the long run. Otherwise, you run the risk of bringing on the wrong people for the business and the overall team dynamics will bear the brunt of this short-sighted decision.

Culture

At Brosa we like to think of culture as what your business represents as a community of people. Or in other words, who is your tribe? Culture is not static, it is continually growing and evolving. As a business stay true to your core set of values and do not compromise on these, but remain open to the organic evolution of your internal culture. Since July of last year, our staff numbers have grown from eight to 50. While this an exciting achievement, staying true to who we are and what we represent as a business has been paramount to maintaining a high performance team.

Maintain a disciplined approach

It is part of your DNA as an entrepreneur to want to move quickly and execute new ideas as fast as possible. This enthusiasm is excellent but it can be a distraction when you are scaling your business. Always remember to take a step back and critically assess your decision-making so that you are executing in the right way at the right time instead of haphazardly. Focus should never be underestimated. Doing three things at 120 percent is a lot better than 10 things at 60 per cent.

Ivan Lim is the co-founder and CEO of online furniture retailer Brosa.

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