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Managing Business Growth

It’s hard enough to get up and running as a business these days. Government and bank loans are slowing the capacity of small businesses to get funding in order to fulfil their dreams, so working ever harder and smarter is key. The infant teething pains of a small business however does get usurped beyond a certain point. Word gets about, the website gets built and promoted, and business naturally starts rolling in.

Before you know it you’ve gone from three to six to nine to 12 to 20 staff. That big new contract demands a whole new resourcing arrangement begetting a new mini empire of brand recruits. Yet, at what point does an SME owner stop doing all the hard leg work of looking after the business per se? At what point is it intelligent to realise that as an entrepreneur it’s time to wise up and opt out for quality outsourcing resources and slick software before it’s nearly time to burn out?

The signs that the work place needs a slicker and more professional systems and direction to align with the growing business can be spotted in the following three ways:

1. Cap the home work: As a business owner working 16 hours a day to just get things off the ground this type of drive is admirable in the first few critical years. However, when the business becomes more of a brand and clients are demanding more strategic consultancy and visibility from the business’ leadership team then it’s time to assess where and how time is logged. It can mean the difference between being able to stagnate and to upscale the dream professionally, effectively and efficiently.

2. The admin tipping point:  Ask any exhausted and conscientious SME MD and they’ll admit to wading through pages of payroll forms, accounting and general admin. This in its own way can become a real time suck. Small business owners can spend time drowning in print and online de facto systems which provide focus yet no strategic imperative, analytical dashboards, efficiencies or, critically profits. For organisations which have grown in size, or with an accounts department which can’t handle the volume of this work, or there are errors turning up in pay slips or staff moaning about this very fact then it’s time to switch to a reputable outsource provider.

3. Generalists versus specialists: There’s the argument that qualified and skilled staff can be brought in and trained up to become very skilled.  After all the MD and senior owners can’t do it all. The end result is a set of highly specialized loyal workers and managers who in short periods can intuitively be trusted to handle business opportunities with customers and suppliers. However, there arrives a distinct and discernable point when every small business has to recruit (or poach) in truly seasoned in-demand professionals. These able professionals possess an inside-out unquantifiable knowledge and deep understanding of the basics through to specialist government, industry and business regulations. Once over the threshold it’s highly likely that they’ll prove their weight in gold in improving the credibility of the organisation as the business expands further.

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