FROM THE SUCCESS PEOPLETM
Growing A Business Without Losing What Makes You Special
We covered in a previous post how you can carve out the time to build your small business into a medium business. There are going to be a lot of challenging moments when you’re growing a business and scaling up, but the main one is keeping what made you start the business in the first place intact.
You probably started your business looking for something bigger than money and prestige. You were trying to capture a feeling- maybe you started a bakery because you love seeing how your baking makes people feel. Scale that up to the point where you’re running multiple bakeries, producing bread en-masse for corporate clients and so on, and you’re unlikely to ever meet your customers or bake anything outside of your own home.
So how do you scale up while staying true to your vision for your company?
- Lead From The Front
Make time to spend an hour, or even a day, doing some of the basic jobs that keep your company running- in the bakery example, make some cookies and man the cash register for a little while. Not only will you be able to inspire your employees and find what needs to be changed to make things easier and more efficient, the experience of being back in the trenches will (or rather, should) reinvigorate your enthusiasm for the most basic aspects of your business. If doing these tasks is unfulfilling then you know that you have a problem.
- Reconnect With Your Customers
A key advantage of a small business is that you can develop one-to-one relationships with your customers. Whether you are serving customers face-to-face in a retail environment or making long-term contracts with clients, your customers appreciate the personal touch of a small business, particularly when they can speak directly to you- the company’s key decision maker. As you are growing a business, take some time to touch base with key clients, and really get to know your client base and what they need from you.
- Keep Your Culture
In the early days of your company, when you were a small team, the long nights and constant hustle created a culture of collaboration, loose (or no) hierarchy, and frequent stress-relieving and team-building. Keeping this exact culture intact as a company grows isn’t always possible, but you should try: that culture powered your biggest period of growth. Keep the hustle going, don’t get too hung up on the chain of command and keep the Friday night drinks and company laser-tag tournaments going.
- Stay In Your Lane
Many companies make the mistake of thinking growing a business means adding new parts to their business instead of developing their core competencies or spreading organically into adjacent markets. For example, a florist would want to stock cards, since people will often need to buy flowers and birthday or condolence cards together, but they’re not going to go into a florist for clothing, no matter how well merchandised it is. Some huge companies can make vast ranges of different, barely related products work, but at a small-to-medium level, it’s best to stay within a niche.
- Have Fun
It’s a common belief that work must be unpleasant, otherwise, it’s not work. It’s an idea with long roots, but it’s an idea that is becomingly increasingly less true. A hundred years ago the idea that child labour might be bad was commie subversion; today the five-day workweek might be on its way out. You can use automation, outsourcing and just plain efficiency to make your workday less of a chore. Don’t mistake drudgery for commitment- integrate ways to have fun and remind yourself of why you started the business into your workday at every opportunity.
Admit it: before you started a business the thought crossed your mind that one day you’d be huge– and you might be. Getting there without losing sight of why you started the business, and without losing the edge you had when the business began could be the difference between stalling out when you try to expand and finally reaching your potential.
If you need advice as you are growing a business, click here and book your free 30-minute Success Check with us, your local accountants in Bonnyville and Cold Lake!
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