How to Scale an Independent Business
3 critical steps to prepare your organization for massive growth.
A successful business is one that can maintain an optimal balance of strategic vision, operational excellence, and teamwork.
Building a world-class organization is an ongoing process which demands that business leaders keep a close eye on the pulse of their operation. This way, they can step in to make adjustments and help out when necessary. As anyone in a position of leadership can attest, if you take your eye off of the ball for too long, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. So, what do most business owners do? They never take their eye off the ball.
This is when most companies begin to stall. Typically, when businesses reach a certain level of activity, naturally, less attention and effort are focussed on growth because of the priority shift to running the business.
When you are too deeply involved in every business process, strategy and execution get thrown out of balance. During the initial start-up phase, you may have to have a hand in marketing, sales, fulfillment, and customer service because that’s what it takes to get your company off the ground. However, if you do not graduate past this stage of wearing multiple hats, your business will continue to operate like a pro sports team where one person serves as the owner, the general manager, the head coach, and the starting quarterback all at the same time. This is not a winning formula. This is not how you scale a business.
Commit to building a team, developing the skills of the individual team members, and then equipping them with the tools they need to be successful.
In the beginning, you can get away with working disproportionately in your business as opposed to working on your business because that is how you keep the money coming in. However, as the leader, if you do not eventually step back from the day-to-day operations to build a well-trained team, then you are jeopardizing your ability to reach new levels of growth and financial success in the future.
If you are too involved in the day-to-day operation of your business, then your focus needs to shift from delivery to development. Commit to building a team, developing the skills of the individual team members, and then equipping them with the tools they need to be successful. Using a three-stage growth approach like this will drastically improve your organization’s capacity to reach new levels of profitability.
Here are three vital steps that you, as a business owner, need to take to build high-performance teams capable of executing on the strategic vision to grow your business.
Find The Right People
Great people grow businesses. There is no substitute for attracting and retaining the right people for the job. Start by building a company culture that employees can identify with and support genuinely. Build a company culture based on values and a purpose.
Then, you need to actively recruit candidates who would be a good fit on your team based on the skills they bring, their life experiences, and their personality. The process of recruiting, interviewing, and vetting your job candidates is only the beginning.
Post-hire, you need to set your new team members up for success by taking them through an on-boarding process designed to help them excel. When you have the right people in the right places, your culture will begin to propagate through the organization. Ongoing employee engagement can be an underrated area of focus for many companies because they do not realize the positive ROI of having energized and highly motivated team members. Spend time developing your organizational culture and then identifying the right people to play on your team.
Develop Their Capacity To Deliver
Building a team is only the beginning – next, you have to develop their skills. Professional development is not a one-time event. No professional athlete would ever go to the gym once or twice and then be satisfied. Formal training and on-the-job coaching should be a regular part of the employee experience at your workplace.
There are many different areas of training to consider. In many industries, it pays to stay on top of the latest product knowledge. Almost anyone can benefit from brushing up on soft skills such as public speaking and relationship management. Also, technical skills need to be sharpened and regularly updated as well. Your best sales rep may be doing an outstanding job for you, but that does not mean that they have nothing left to learn.
Also, make sure that every employee has an individualized growth plan. Alignment between individual goals and organizational goals is vital. Only with a clear understanding of your team members’ career goals can you help them realize personal success through the pursuit of organizational success.
If your company does not have standardized training programs, there are several organizations such as The KMAC Group who specialize in providing professional development specifically for independent businesses.
Equip Them With Better Tools
Give your team a competitive advantage. In today’s workplace, systems and processes are only as helpful as they are easy to use. You cannot overstate the value of implementing systems that allow your staff to be more productive and more efficient.
In terms of software, there are a variety of solutions on the market designed to optimize workflows in each business units. Most common among these software solutions are customer relationship management systems, customer service and call-centre systems, and marketing platforms. The key to choosing your tools is to make sure that you select software products for your business that communicate intuitively with each other. When your sales reps gather information about a customer, that information should become available to your service delivery team seamlessly when the client is handed over. Seamless collaboration is one of the best ways to break down silos within your organization and create synergy between departments.
In this day and age, data makes the world go round. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. If you want to keep your team accountable while increasing their ability to work collaboratively, consider integrating a single-source cloud-based information system to manage all of your customer data from end-to-end.
In short, focus your energy on finding the right people, developing their capacity to deliver, and equipping them with better tools to prepare your organization for massive growth.