Most small businesses don’t last more than a few years. Many of those that remain in business stay small, sometimes barely more than the person who owns their job and occasionally delegates work to an assistant. If you want your business to last and provide a good living for you even if you’re away for a few months, it needs to grow. Let’s look at some of the common challenges facing growing businesses.
Not Knowing How to Outsource So You Can Focus on Your Core Competencies
You should determine how to design your organization so you can outsource to the experts. It is not always in your best interest to manage your IT in-house. For example, you could design the workflow for hiring the talent you need by giving a Human Resources firm your requirements and interviewing their top few vetted applicants. You can then outsource your IT department to a managed service provider like Thriveon that will maintain your critical information systems, website, work computers and everything else.
Coasting on Inertia
Businesses beyond the initial setup and growth phase are at risk of settling into inertia. Humans tend to be lazy and stay on the same track until they realize they have fallen behind or need to respond to a disaster. One solution to this is creating a culture of continual innovation, looking for the little improvements in any and every area to make things better whether it is product cycle time, service delivery or error rates in data entry.
Not Knowing How to Train Future Leaders
When you first start your business, bringing in your first employee is a major threshold. The close relationship and continual mentoring means the first few people in the team likely carry your values and share your vision. Once you get to a few dozen people, you need more managers and, as the owner, you don’t have time to train the next crop of leaders. The solution to this is developing a program to train future managers on everything they need to know from labor scheduling to billing and company values. When you have a training plan in place to train people for management positions, combined with the periodic supervision of trainers and reviews of new managers, you can expand beyond the first one or two tiers of management and keep the same values and vision in place.
Don’t neglect the onboarding of new hires in other areas, as well. Have your new front office and back office staff mentored by a senior employee to make sure they learn the ropes, are indoctrinated into the company culture and feel like part of the team. You’ll see greater retention, increased loyalty, and better performance.
Lacking Formal Procedures
You need to have formal procedures in place for everything that is critical to your business and any tasks performed on a regular basis. What is the procedure for handling refunds? What steps should be followed when opening and closing stores? Don’t forget the professional tasks, as well. Who can authorize additional privileges added to someone’s IT account? How will bookkeeping software be updated, and who will handle the auditing? Document all mission-critical processes so that essential steps aren’t missed.
Even though expansion and increase in demand can be a mixed blessing, you can cope if you have the proper procedures in place.