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Growing Pains Are Tough, But Shrinking Pains Are Worse

By Nick Friedman | President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving

Published on 10/31/2012

Original Article on Forbes.com - http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2012/10/31/growing-pains-are-tough-but-shrinking-pains-are-worse/

I’ve heard it a thousand times from prospective franchise buyers and brokers alike: “Your company is going through growing pains.”

Yes, it is. And I’m proud of it.

After all, would they rather the company stagnated — or even began shrinking altogether?

I wouldn’t. In fact, as an entrepreneur, I love facing the challenges of a fast-growing company, and not just because it (hopefully) means that we’re increasing revenue and achieving success. I focus on and embrace the growth phase precisely because it presents “challenges” — otherwise known as opportunities — that allow my team and myself to grow personally and professionally, both as individuals and as an organization.

Every morning, I wake up excited to learn and gain valuable new experience alongside my team. When I consider the alternatives (say, a “Benjamin Button”-type shrinking phase or even just the usual stagnant, perpetually repetitive daily grind), it inspires within me a sense of gratitude at the fact that I’m at such a fun, hectic, critical point in my company’s journey.

Aside from (and maybe more so than) my own edification and growth as an entrepreneur, though, I also take great pride and pleasure in being able to empower my team. When an entry-level team member comes to me with an idea for a supplemental revenue stream, I’m able to say “Great! You’re in charge of that department now. Create a plan and we’ll discuss it.”

OK, so maybe it’s not that drastic, but the point is, I’m able to quickly empower, promote and reward highly-talented, creative-minded team members. I’m able to provide opportunities for them to grow professionally and do things that, at a stagnant company, would take years of toiling, waiting and playing politics to achieve.

Case in point, we recently launched a new arm of our organization that has the potential to work synergistically with our existing brand and exponentially increase revenues across the board.

Sounds like the brainchild of a CEO or President, doesn’t it?

But the ideation didn’t happen at the top. It happened in our call center. A rep discovered the potential business opportunity based on his experiences while fielding inbound calls. Can you guess who got put in charge of that project initially?

That’s why I have trouble understanding the tone people often use to describe a company that’s going through “growing pains.” Many people use the term as though it’s a bad thing, when in reality, it’s anything but.

I suppose it’s a fundamental difference in the way certain people view life. Everything can be problematic. But the real measure of an entrepreneur is how many problems he or she encounters versus how many opportunities he or she embraces.

Maybe that outlook is even part of the reason behind our rapid growth. In a company where exciting, new things are always taking place, team members are driven to rise to the occasion instead of shying away from obstacles and changes.

Whatever the reason, I’ll take the growth over the stability of a plateau any day — even when it hurts.

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