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Building a management team – when is it time?
by Jason French

When is it time to think about a management team?

For small business owners, taking the big step to expand and build a management team is a big one. When would you consider taking this leap? It could be that:

  1. Business opportunities are passing you by
  2. You want to be able to bid for bigger contracts
  3. As the owner you’re feeling overwhelmed
  4. Business is going off track from what it does
  5. There’s unequal distribution of labour
  6. Job descriptions are a work of fiction
  7. Employees have a sense of randomness from their leaders and everything is constantly a crisis action

How many people will I need in my management team?

The number of people you need when planning your management team will evolve with the long term needs of the business (rarely should you go the whole hog straight away).

Business growth must be planned – which means a full audit of all functions.

Planning growth effectively will deliver significant increases in performance that will make the management team pay for itself and more. You are however investing in growing your business, so make sure that you are hiring someone that is going to add value. If you get too wound up about cost, the danger is that you will hire someone cheap who does not add more value than they cost!

Which senior manager role is most important?

So which role do you need to recruit first for your management team? Most people that I deal with will say that they would either like an Operations Manager or a Sales/Business Development Manager. This is because these are usually the functions in which they find themselves working from day to day (along with HR, bookkeeping and a raft of other things!).

The truth is that this is a version of unplanned growth – the idea of ‘taking things off my plate.’ It feels like a benefit in the short term with some much needed business support with daily operations, but a more strategic, long term view is needed. If you do this, you will still be doing things incorrectly, but at a faster rate.

What’s the view for the future?

An audit of functions allows you to ‘map’ the process of your business and then work out the people that surround it and the tasks they do. Do this for the ‘future’ company i.e. what the company will look like after the change which is why business planning is so important.

Once you can forsee what the future company will look like, then you need to look at how all of those functions are working. This includes where they sit at the moment, and who is doing them. Often in doing this, business owners find some big imbalances.

In correcting those imbalances, you are not simply taking tasks off one person’s list and giving them to the new position. You are reviewing every position in the company! How does each position contribute to the process and where should the tasks sit?

How do i plan the recruitment timeline?

Insight allows you to compare the future structure with the current one and will help you to decide which changes are the most urgent and which can be a gradual process. This will give an idea of what any interim steps or structures might look like. These are normally phased in over a one to two-year period.

How this will be done is highly dependent on the type of business and the current situation. Substantial changes may be needed because the company is ‘growing up’, and there may be some changes in personnel. It’s important to remember that if there is a change management situation, it must be handled with the best possible empathy, communication and planning.

More information

If you are in such a situation and could use some business advice and guidance on planning change, please get in touch with me here or email me at jason.french@businessdoctors.co.uk

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