Is your company growing? Most are either growing or dying, so it is probably growing. And that’s great. But if you are growing in sales and net profit, you should also be growing in how you run your business and how your business runs.
Growth mindset isn’t just about money, it’s about performance.
How is your company managing its growth?
- Are you keeping up on growing your infrastructure to match your company’s growth?
- Do you have the staffing you need to support the increase in volume?
- Are you changing your company culture to keep up with your increase in sales?
- Are you keeping up on training and education to match the new challenges that come with growth?
Company infrastructure must expand when a company grows.
Take a high-level view of what systems you have in place and decide if they are still working. You may have outgrown them and need to upscale to handle the increase in volume your company is experiencing. This could be data tracking, inventory tracking, tracking your entire production system, or any number of processes. It depends on whether you sell services or products. Whatever systems you use, look at them all. Fully evaluate if they are working or if there is room for improvement.
Earlier this year I realized that the way we had been tracking all the tasks we do for each of our clients monthly just wasn’t holding up. We were losing track of too many things and balls were dropping. Not good. We went in search of a better system that could handle our current volume but also that we could grow into as we move forward.
Be sure that if you do need to scale to a bigger system there is room to grow beyond where you are, or you’ll be back in the same position before you know it. Do your due diligence and only change once you are as certain as possible that the new system will be a good fit. Then make the change.
Planning when and how to make the change is important too. You don’t want to make a major change during your busy season. But be sure you have a back up plan if you’ve outgrown your current system and can’t make the change for some time.
Ball dropping is expensive and can cost you customers and damage your reputation. Don’t wait for this to happen. Make the changes before you have issues.
Having enough staff to handle volume is critical.
In today’s difficult labor market, this might mean something other than hiring more bodies. Again, step back and look at your entire business and how work is distributed amongst your team. Is someone working overtime constantly while others seem to be sitting around idly? If so, something is wrong with your work distribution. It might be as simple as shifting some duties from one person to another, or it might mean creating a new position and hiring for it.
I always go back to Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, in which he talks about having the right people on the bus in the right seat. If you have someone who is a great salesperson, but they oversee managing production, then you need to move them to a different seat where they fit better.
This is especially critical on small teams where everyone must wear multiple hats. Just because someone is assigned to something doesn’t mean they are either good at it or passionate about it. Putting people where they thrive is important. Not only should they be doing the things they’re best at, but they should be doing what they love whenever possible. It makes everyone more efficient and happier.
Once you evaluate where the gaps in the systems are and evaluate everyone’s strengths, then you can decide if it’s time to move people around, create new positions and assign existing employees to them or, if necessary, hire more people. There are likely multiple solutions. Get creative and don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they would like to be doing. You might be surprised at the hidden talent you already have that you can utilize to handle growth.
As companies grow, their cultures need to evolve as well.
I heard it said recently that whether you are actively creating your culture or not, you still have one. Letting a culture develop organically has pros and cons. Sometimes things happen inherently, and they work well and fit your company culture. Other times things happen without your guidance or direction that hurt the company.
Take the time to step back and look at your culture. Do you have a friendly team that works well together, and everyone lends a hand when needed? Or are your folks working in silos off on their own not participating in the team? Neither is necessarily bad. However, it’s important to decide if what is happening is what you want to be happening.
In today’s world of digital or hybrid teams, it can be tricky to evaluate if the culture is supporting the company and the employees. Paying attention to how things work between team members, as well as how the company is functioning, can help you decide if you need to step in and drive the culture in a different direction.
Being a remote team ourselves, I’ve had to work to figure out how to keep everyone from feeling isolated. Encouraging team members to reach out for support when needed, holding regular team meetings as well as one-on-one meetings has helped us stay bonded. We take time at the beginning of each meeting to do a quick check in and see how everyone is doing. This reminds me that they are people with a lot going on in their lives. We don’t come to work and leave our personal stressors behind. Especially when working from home, there is an impact that needs to be acknowledged.
Culture goes beyond team happiness and only you know what is happening in your company, just remember to evaluate it periodically. If changes are needed, figure out what can be done to improve the situation then implement the necessary changes.
Investing in education and training is a great way to support your team as your company expands.
Different situations call for different types of training and education. Start with yourself as the leader. Are you standing at the helm with confidence that you are directing everyone and everything in the best possible way? If not, maybe it’s time to get an update on your leadership skills.
Never be afraid to admit you need help. Setting the example will go a long way when you ask your team members to increase their skills. Take a training course, bring in a consultant or go to a coach. Only you know what you need.
Next, look at your team. Do they have the skills they need to do the job they’re being asked to do? If not, take the time to train them. Either in house or via outside resources.
Two of my gals and I just spent the better part of a week attending an industry conference. This was great exposure to the latest and greatest in what’s happening in our world. Since we are greatly impacted by changes in technology, we were able to get a better idea of what we need to change and implement to stay up to date.
This is just one way of bringing education and training to your company. You could also do an in-house staff training day and bring in someone from the outside to update your skills. Or maybe you establish a formal mentoring system and pair up senior people with more junior ones to help establish ongoing support.
There are any number of ways to educate yourself and your team. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Think outside the box. Supporting growth and improvement will strengthen your ability to keep up with increased demand and it will contribute positively to your company culture.
Growing companies need to think about more than the bottom line.
Increasing revenue and net profit are optimal. Just remember to look at the rest of the company as well. With increased sales come increased pressures on your systems and staff. Do you have a plan in place to improve or upgrade your infrastructure to support the coming growth? Do you have the right people on the bus and are you driving it in the direction you want it to go? Does your company culture support your team in a way that will keep them happy as the pressure mounts to stay up with the new demands? Does everyone, you included, have the skills they need to easily handle any new assignments or more volume? A strong leader has a growth mindset about all areas of the company, not just about increasing sales.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (www.strongwomenthriving.com), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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