Startup Growth Problems: What I Learned When I Expanded

Startup Growth Problems: What I Learned When I Expanded

Startup Growth Problems: What I Learned When I Expanded

Former international travel consultant now entrepreneur Ebony Centazzo is the founder of Cat Napping Suburban Retreats. She has been blogging about her entrepreneurial journey in the Founder Diaries since 2013. You can read her previous posts here.


I opened my second cattery six months ago. I left my first in the capable hands of my staff while I created, built and grew the second in Caroline Springs.

I was being creative again every day with the set up and developing marketing activities to promote the new location. My staff called whenever there was a question or a problem, and I would drop in on the way home at least three times a week to say hi to the cats and check on supplies.

Being my first business, and not having a mentor, I have always just done what I felt was right. So here I was thinking that everything was under control and running smoothly without me physically being there every day, when slowly I started to see cracks appearing.

Procedures and guidelines that I had set in place were starting to be forgotten, altered and ignored. Bitchiness was starting between the staff, which broke my heart. I never wanted to create a team that bitched and didn’t respect each other, like I had witnessed in my previous career.

I also noticed my clients were missing me and wondering where I had gone. Three years ago, it was just my parents and I running the business. My regular clients got to know us who knew it was a small family-ran business.

So I had to start working back there again in my first location – Hoppers Crossing. I had to be back on the ground and observing what was happening. I soon realised that I dearly missed the place – this was my baby. I had grown this business from an empty warehouse with no cats and clients, to a cattery that averages 40 cats a night with amazing and loyal clients.

With my second cattery, I know that if I want to continue to expand the business, I need to be less attached. I am distancing myself, trying not to have such a close relationship with my clients to prevent this problem arising.

It has been six weeks since I have been back three days a week at Hoppers Crossing and I can see my team improving. Being physically out of the business for four months, it has also allowed me to see the business with a fresh set of eyes. I can now see what needs replacing, cleaned or altered.

With both locations now running smoothly and the memories of stress and almost running out of money starting to fade, I find myself scouting for my third location.




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