Successful business growth doesn’t happen by accident. I have identified three fundamental actions that every business must consider, then work on and put into place to stand any chance of success in developing a sustainable growing business.
1. Build on firm foundations
Step away from the day-today business operations to consider how your company is structured. Sketch out your organisational chart. Who reports to whom? Is the flow of communication as it should be? Is there an effective hierarchy in place? Would a ‘flatter’ organisational structure benefit your business? Would a holocracy be a more viable option? Can improvements be made, which may cause some difficulties in the short-term, but be rewarding for your longer term business needs?
I recommend that you ask these questions with a blank sheet of paper at the ready to sketch out your ideas. If you start from scratch with your ideal situation in mind, you’re less likely to complicate your thought processes than if you use your current structure as a launch pad for creating a functional structure.
Don’t build the business around current individual staff members in your future planning, but instead focus on the key job roles. It may be that you need to make some tough decisions, so make sure there are no emotions attached to your ideal structure in the form of individual personalities. Think about what roles you need and the competences you need to fulfil these roles. Consider how you could improve communication in your ideal structure. Remember that good internal communications will lead to improved communications with your customers and potential new markets.
2. Continuously improve your systems and processes
The words ‘policies’ and ‘procedures’ aren’t the most inspiring of phrases. But they are both critical in factoring the success of scaling your business.
Set aside some time each month to review your processes. Have policies and procedures for important tasks been effectively defined? Have they been communicated throughout your organisation effectively? Does everyone who should be part of a system understand and following these properly?
You don’t need military level SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to keep the key process flowing within your business. During your monthly systems review, ‘walk’ through your processes from your customers’ perspective and highlight any bottlenecks. Determine the cause and effect of these bottlenecks, then, as a team, find a better way of working.
Simply reducing the amount of duplication and the number of people (including yourself) in each process can make a significant difference. Utilise or bring in digital systems where possible to create consistency. Clarifying policies such as customer complaints procedures, staff sickness, holiday requests, even using personal mobile phones and social media within the workplace can make processes more efficient. Over time, employees become more productive, resulting in a better level of customer service.
3. Put the right people in the right jobs
Look back at your organisational structure and ask yourself if your current staffing structure matches the ideal. There may be tough decisions to be made if the reality doesn’t fit with the end goal.
Retain and re-train those that fit job roles and who have the competences, where’s there is gaps recruit for the potential you need to establish and fulfil the future roles within the business structure.
Ensure all employees have the opportunity to sit down with their line manager for appraisals at least twice a year and hold monthly less formal one-to-ones. Support staff as much as they possibly can be within their roles. This is not just sending them on training courses, but coaching, mentoring, buddying up with others on the job, offering secondments and project work. However ensure you follow up on one-to-one meetings, developing and giving staff the necessary tools to be effective and efficient in their roles.
“I don’t have the time to completely restructure my business.”
Then you need to make time! But don’t turn the thought of implementing these business basics into a mountain. They’re really just a series of molehills, after all. Continued incremental improvements in these three areas of the business are likely to increase your business outputs and results over an extended period of time. In short, continue to look for ways to improve, even if you just set aside an hour a week to make the small steps that keep the momentum going.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Henry Ford
If you are looking to grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offer a free business health check where we can help you to set a clear vision to understand the steps you need to take to fulfil your aspirations. Alternatively, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.