Sometimes you chase growth, sometimes you have growth thrust upon you.

Finn Shewell
6 min readMar 10, 2021



I’m in the business of helping people and organisations grow.

That can look like many different things — whether it’s preparing people for upcoming growth, coming in to grow the rate of an organisation’s growth, or even doing damage control after an unexpected (and harmful) bout of sudden growth.

That last one is important — and it’s what a lot of people miss. Growth is only a measure of value if your company is set up to take on the added weight that growth provides. An obvious detriment of unexpected growth is running out of stock, and risking the loss of many potential customers. Some less clear impacts of unexpected growth can look like rushed hiring processes that lead to drastically reduced quality of product, sharp declines in the wellbeing of your employees, and typically greater friction between governance and management.

There are a lot of ways to shape your company in order to better control it’s growth — both in terms of when and how. Let’s jump into it.

First, I want you to picture yourself sitting in the flight deck of a space shuttle.
To even be in that seat, you’ve had to put years of effort in. Sacrificing a social life, valuable time with your family, and other career paths that could have led to an early retirement by now. But you’re there — where you’ve always wanted to be, in that prized seat that so few ever make it to.




launch. fuck.

You feel 3 G’s crush you against your seat almost immediately — 2 seconds before you’re ready for it. You haven’t had time to prepare. You’re not gripping the control’s you’re meant to be gripping — and good luck getting to them now, with your vision blurring and each hand essentially some form of meat-club that you have little to no control over. The team at Houston are caught off guard too, wasting valuable seconds to the mere shock of what’s happened.
You’re doing what you’ve always dreamed of doing, but because of a difference of just two seconds it might cost you your life — and there’s no do-overs in a life or death game.

The analogy is dramatic, but clear. Growth can be fatal for the unprepared.

So let’s explore how we can prepare for growth, right down to the DNA of our companies.


Governance can have more of an effect on the trajectory of an organisation than almost any other factor, save an act of god.

On one hand, strong governance, especially when there is alignment between management and the board, is a beautiful thing. On the other hand, poor management, poor governance, or even misalignment between two otherwise effective parties, can have an irreparable effect on the growth of a company.

So, assuming management is effective, how can we make sure governance is the same — and that both parties are in agreement about the direction of the organisation?

If there were an easy answer, we wouldn’t have a term for ‘agency cost’ or ‘agency problems’.

The greatest thing you can do when forming a board is never underestimate their importance, and vette each member heavily in regards to both the unique skill they bring to your organisation as a director, and their vision for the company in the short, mid, and long-term.


Often times, we don’t get to choose our product. If you’re starting a company, chances are you’re doing it because you think you’ve found a solution to a problem that no one else has discovered yet. It could be an app, a physical product, or a concept that you intend to evangelize through consultancy work.

Regardless of what it is, it’s definitely not going to be those two other things — and so you’re locked in to the growth characteristics that are typical for each product category.

But if you’re just looking to have a side hustle that you can come back to whenever you have some free time, you might be able to choose what type of product you offer, and through that, what your growth trajectory could look like.

for example — if you’re looking to make a low-cost physical product in an uncrowded market, you could have your business run away on you if you can only dedicate 5 hours a week to it. What happens if your stock sells out in one store, and isn’t selling enough in another? What do you do if your product becomes a run away hit, and your manufacturing partner can no longer keep up with demand? These are problems that are best solved as they arise. If you don’t have the freedom to do so, you may be doing a disservice to both yourself and your business.

On the flip-side — apps don’t have a finite amount of stock. Depending on how you set your app up, there may be almost no cost to your growth. Before you’ve even begun developing your app, you’ve crossed out inventory management, stock distribution, shipping logistics and more from your shit to worry about list.
But there are still updates that need to take place — and if you’re using third-party solutions for some of your development, you don’t necessarily control when those updates need to happen. Say your app grows to 10,000 users — pretty nice, right? What happens when you have a huge deadline coming up in your full-time job, and the authentication service you’re hosting your app on has a massive update that crashes everything? You immediately have 10,000 unhappy customers — not great for your moments-before awesome venture.

Then we get to consultancy. If you’re picking a side-hustle based off of control of workload, consultancy is the golden-child. You choose how many customers you have, and who they are. You don’t need to worry about 10,000 unhappy fans, because you’ll never be consulting for 10,000 people (Let me know if you ever do though — because wow). The one ever-present danger to be aware of when jumping into the consulting game is scope creep. Let’s say you’re consulting with a grocery chain, helping them gain insights about their customers buying behaviour. Then, they become curious about what they can do to increase efficiency in the deli area. You don’t really have the time to sink in to such a task, but they’re also your most valuable client. What do you do?

Basically — However you’re trying to grow, it comes with a trade-off, typically of time invested. Depending on the product-type, though, control over that time can be in your hands, or the hands of the consumer.


Pricing impacts your growth in many, many ways. How much you charge for your offering has a direct impact on the demand — and it ultimately determines how much you can invest in projects that could help with future growth.

Let’s say you’re making & selling handmade jewellery. First, you price your goods at $10 a piece. At this rate, you sell 20 pieces. Awesome — you’ve just made $200 before cost.
The next month, you sell 40 pieces. sweet — $400. That’s good money.
You decide — hey, let’s bump the price up a bit. Let’s go to $12. After this price bump, you only sell 30, making $360. That’s a bit disappointing considering how much you were selling last month — you drown your sorrows, and in your drunken stupor accidentally set the price to $120. You accidentally enter a new market, become a luxury good, and make $4,800 off 40 pieces.

The point is this: Pricing is fickle. Every product or service has an optimal price, where returns are maximised. It’s up to you to find your own best price — and don’t be afraid to be bold with it.

But pricing is about more than just how much something costs — it’s also about how people pay for what you offer. if you’re providing software, are you charging them once, or once a month? Can people pay via paypal, or do they need to meet you in that dark alleyway behind the cinema?

These are just three factors out of many that play a part in the growth of your company — more importantly, they play a part in the control you have over that growth.

If you want to not only grow, but also control that growth — reach out. Let’s chat about it.



Finn Shewell

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 I help people work together