What if my business grows and I don’t?

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

What if my business grows and I don’t?

This week a long-standing client, entrepreneurial to his fingertips, who has tripled turnover in the time I have known him, said: “I have decided the sweetspot for employing people is between £18k and £30k”. We were talking about shifting invoicing responsibility into Finance at the time and this had brought up a recent departure from that department that clearly rankled.

When I asked him to elaborate he explained that outside this band people either left when you wanted them to stay or stayed when you wanted them to leave.

I was more concerned about the upper threshold than the lower. My client plans to triple the size of the business again and he will need either to develop his existing managers or, more likely, he will need to bring in some more capable people. I asked whether he thought the problem he had managing people above £30k was more to do with his skills than the kind of people you can hire and he agreed that it probably was.

This of course is not unusual. The limit on growth for an owner-managed business is often not the market, not the product – but the ability of the owner to hire, and get the best from, increasingly bright, knowledgeable and driven employees. This is not because business owners are not bright, knowledgeable and driven themselves – they are, or they would not have built a successful business. It is because they don’t have the necessary tools in their management toolkit to manage people differently. They are generally comfortable with a command and control approach that does not require much in the way of shared purpose, delegated accountability, clearly-articulated goals, or structure.

These latter form part of an approach to management called Systemisation.  It is based on a couple of simple premises:

To grow a business you need two conditions; someone must want to buy what you sell and you must be organised to deliver it at a profit.

“Organised” means that everyone knows what you are trying to achieve, who is responsible for doing things and how they are done to achieve the required result.

Obvious?  Well perhaps.  But often not the case in my experience and perhaps in the experiences of the employees and customers of these growing businesses.

If you’d like to find out how you could make these simple changes to your business, and grow as your business grows, then this event is for you.

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