An issue that has popped up for many of my clients has been that of how to grow your business from either a one-man band or a small team, to a larger team and a bigger business.
In some cases, they may lack the skills and knowledge and/or the confidence to take that step, but there’s also that massive leap of faith required in your ability to ensure you can pay the new staff that you’ll probably need to take on.
It becomes a sort of ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Which comes first – the extra work or the ready-trained team, along with the right systems in place, to be able to cope with the extra volume, extra turnover and resulting extra workload?
That’s why it’s important to have a clearly defined plan – a strategic blueprint on how you intend to manage that transition. If you just go ahead and ramp up the marketing and bring in the extra business, your team may not cope and you could end up destroying your hard-earned reputation by delivering inferior standards of service.
On the other hand, if you start by taking on the people and training them in how to work with your newly purchased extra equipment or systems required to cope with the increase, then how do you find the money to pay for them? The chances are that you’ll struggle to find the money, and because the staff MUST be paid, you as the owner, will be the one who works for no pay until the turnover and profit catch up with the costs of your new resources.
Some business owners increase their activity but fail to increase their productivity. That’s what we business consultants and advisors call ‘Busy Fool Syndrome’.
Many owners of small organisations either attempt the leap and plummet to the demise of the business, or they remain stuck in the ‘no man’s land’ – that miserable middle ground of stagnation, afraid to move from the comfort zone of familiarity and apparent safety. You’ll hear them say things like, “I don’t want to grow any bigger because I don’t want the staff problems and the headaches that come with it.”
Of course, every business is different, with its own unique set of circumstances, so we can’t generalise here. In some cases, it may be sensible to think outside the box and look for other ways of improving without necessarily growing and taking on more people. In my experience, most businesses overlook potential upsells and referrals from their existing customers, thus ‘leaving money on the table.’ There might even be other ways of leveraging your effort, such as by inventing or patenting intellectual property or by developing a more passively-generated online income.
On the other hand, many businesses have no real exit strategy or plan on how they will maximise the eventual sale value of their ‘project’. They often fail to consider their family’s needs and their own health needs, by delegating the more physically or mentally tiring work and freeing themselves up to take days off and holidays; or to improve and streamline their business, thereby improving their lifestyle. In some cases, there is no succession planning and often no contingencies have been prepared in the event of the sickness or other absence of the key people.
The most common situation is that all the issues I’ve mentioned here require some conscious, proactive thinking and that is often either too hard or the owner of the business is so worn out chasing their tales that they slump on the couch and opt to think about it all ‘some other time.’ Meanwhile though, the scariest of your competitors may be developing an aggressive business growth plan AND taking action to make their plans come to fruition at your expense.
Herein lies the problem, and as a coach, this is one of my maxims:
“If you’re not moving forwards in business, you’re not just standing still; you’re actually slipping backwards.”
At the same time, take note that if you don’t keep the demands of your work in balance with your ‘quality time’ with your family and friends; your physical and mental health; your personal finances and your life goals; then the whole business dream could very quickly become your worst nightmare.
If you’d like to find out more about how I’ve helped many small business owners just like you to develop successful strategies AND how I may be able to HELP YOU to achieve your goals, then please simply get in touch and we’ll catch up for an obligation-free chat.
Always remember and acknowledge that if you want your situation to change, you need to do something different to what you have been doing, or you’ll just get more of the same.