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How do you manage growth in your business with little financial resources?

My nonprofit organization has grown in the past few months to serve local colleges, school districts, resident facilities, and other agencies throughout the Greater Cleveland Area. We also have a team of about 30 volunteers including interns, board members and retired professionals. With so much that needs to be done, I am a little unsure of where I should start in the development of the infrastructure for managing operations of this size.

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If cash flow is an issue, your business plan should be: "Pay As You Go, Spend As You Grow", or you'll have problems.


Whether your business is a non or a a for profit endeavor the answer is fundamentally the same from an organization standpoint, the difference may be that some of your tasks/labor will be volunteered rather than paid. With a volunteer function you will have to assure the same kind of commitment that a paid position will have. That doesn't mean it has to be 35 hours but it's efforts can't be excused because it is volunteer. The best performing non profits have paid positions to assure effort and accountability, which positions may be dictated by commitments and opportunities filled by volunteers. You want professionalism in your organization and you also want to maintain an optimum cost/services ratio. The big question is, what impact does it have on your mission if you don't have the proper infrastructure in place to deliver it? Starting with a paid Admin is usually the smartest first step, also having a volunteer Board of Directors to share in the decision making is also a mark of a first class non profit.


With little financial resources consider manage the growth by reapplying existing resources through the skills of influence. Often times if we step outside of the bus., and look back in we will notice that based on the business trends today and forecast all the right players are on the bus they are just in the wrong seats (Jim Collins "Good to Great"). The solution most likely exist within; something or someone that is already in the cash flow.

Look for people that are highly efficient, safety minded, and very proud of the work they do, and has values that exceeds the ethical values of the organization. Another way to look at it is similar to that of athletic recruiters parallel skill sets and then who is the most teachable/coach-able.


Hi Antoinne,

Your question is evident of the fact that there is a gap between your vision and your team's current output specially in terms of the time frame which you have in your mind.

In this scenario my suggestion is to work on your 3 to 5 years strategy and the initiatives and works which are required to be completed by the team.

Sell these deliverables to your team and take their buy in .

If they agree in terms of the time required and deadlines to achieve these deliverables hand over deliverables in writing to everyone with deadlines of achievement.

If they have any reservations in terms of their deliver-ability you need to add to your manpower resource either in the form of volunteers or may be paid people to achieve those objective . Again bring your manpower to that level and then take their buy in on paper.

But the most important thing is the entire road map to the completion which right now appears to be in your head only . You need to bring it on papers and discuss with your team in terms of time allocation and commitment.

Another important advice is to identify areas of specialization for segregation of workforce and specialties. For example bifurcate teams into schools, colleges, resident facilities and other agencies. This will also help you in strategy making for each unit separately and also in managing and developing your human resource in each area.

Focus on engaging stakeholders and fulfillment of their needs .

Best Of Luck,

North York, Canada


Antoinne this is a tough question. Let me start by asking how well defined your plans are?


Ditto... your business plan would lay out what you need to do, and what it is going to take to get it done.


I would suggest meeting with a Score counselor in your area.....1st step is a mission statement, and vision statement. then a business plan and make sure you Zero Base budget your costs and due a zero based cash flow projection as well.... and then you will have an idea of how you might finance


With nonprofit organiztions you have no problem to manage in your little financial resources because there is no cost , all what you have to do increase your volunteers to get the work done , even try to collect more fanancial resources through them .

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