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Your business has a handful of staff. Do you want to grow more? How can it be scaled up?
by Peter Searle

If you started a small business do you recognise these feelings; excitement, calm, busy, very busy, frantic, frustration but you want to scale back to the days when you had control? Do you know why? At a loss as to how growth can be controlled?

When a business is created, the “creative phase”, the founders are passionate about what they deliver. Invariably, they want to be recognised for what they produce or do and will work long hours to keep up with the activities which go with running a business.

Other people are likely to rally around or be engaged to help and they will get drawn into the excitement. Because they are close to the owner, communication channels are informal and short. Decisions are likely to be made to promote growth and living day by day becomes the norm. But as the volume of work grows the founder will start to lose control. One person has a limit to what they can control and different aspects of the business start to go wrong. Have you seen this? It can be frustrating for different people, the founder, as they are not delivering, suppliers as they are asked to fight fires and customers as they do not get what they expect.

This is the first crisis a business will encounter as it grows and the crisis revolves around the characteristics of the leader. It can be depressing to see the founder floundering as their creation starts to implode. The founder requires support to carry the business forward. Leadership of the business will need to be re-organised so that a clear direction is provided for the staff and a formal organisation structure established which will be capable of managing all the activities. Typically, the structure has three elements; sales, operations and finance, with the founder overseeing all three. The founder will focus on one element and be supported by other staff who will be responsible for the other two elements. This will allow the next phase of growth, known as “growth by direction”, to commence.

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