So far, you’ve done well growing your small business. You began as a solopreneur, grown your business, added employees, and continued growth. The problem is, it’s becoming more and more challenging to juggle everything you do. Small companies often plateau because the business plan that got them there becomes ineffective. You can’t manage a grocery store like a roadside vegetable stand. Although there are examples of a “one-person show” growing a business, it’s not the most sustainable or productive path to growth. If you’d like to grow your business and have a life, here are a few keys to success. Maintaining growth doesn’t happen on its own.
5 Steps to Growing Your Small Business
1. Setting Policies and Procedures
I know what you may be thinking — written policies aren’t needed because if you hire good people, they’ll know what to do. The problem is you’re a driven business leader. You had the vision to start your own successful business, and you expect your employees to think as you do. They probably don’t, or they wouldn’t be working for you. Sharing expectations and establishing systems doesn’t stunt entrepreneurship — it guides it.
2. Continuous Training
There are at least two reasons for training. Offering training allows you to hire for character rather than skills alone. Lack of character often leads to problems in the workplace. Some positions will, of course, require specialized training and skills such as attorneys, engineers, designers, but even then, hiring for character first will strengthen your organization. Ongoing training is also essential to keep employees on track and is a positive commitment to your team.
3. Consistent Communication
To this point, you may not have needed to schedule communication; you’re working together every day and have chatted about what is needed. There is nothing wrong with that, but as you grow, you’ll need another level to ensure everyone is on the same page. Whether virtual or in-person, you need to discuss status and planning consistently. How often should you meet? As often as there are significant changes in the status of your business and business plans.
4. Vision and Direction
As the organization leader, it’s your responsibility to share the vision and give direction. Where is the company headed, and how will we get there? You don’t accomplish this with a mission statement alone, but by referring to it whenever possible. Tie the vision of the organization into current activities. Remind the team where it’s going and how their contributions get us there.
5. Working IN the Business, Not On It
For example, if you’re the only salesperson, and lead gen follow-up now takes most of your time, it’s going to be difficult to maintain growth. How will you grow the entire business if you’re entrenched in only one part of it? If you want both continued growth and time for a life, you’ll need to delegate responsibilities. You can concentrate on planning, training, and communication by working on the business. The Path from Working In to Working On the Business
If maintaining growth is part of your vision for your small business, you’ll need to let go to grow. Trying to do it all yourself is not the best plan for growth or your health and lifestyle. Learn to hire good people, give them direction, and lead them with continued training and communication. If you plant and nurture the seed, it will eventually grow on its own. Is your business growing? If so, how have you accomplished it?
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.