The immediate reaction or impulsive first step when wanting to take your business to the next step is the drafting of a Business Plan. Essentially, a Business Plan is a document that sells milestones to yourself or your board, and dictates how they are to be achieved. That’s it. As a document, it leaves a lot of questions, worryingly, not asked.
When planning to grow your business, either by moving up the value chain, or by entering new markets, the decision has effects on your business cycle, and the various phases it needs to go through in order to maintain its growth.
In this article we explore the steps that one must take when dealing with business growth, as well as the challenges that are often faced.
- Defining your company’s vision
- Giving importance to both commercial as well as cultural factors
- Getting clear on who does what – the roles within the company’s existing and future processes
- Building up your capabilities by maturing your organisation and the skills of your existing staff
Let’s start with the need for a Vision. This is often the first most challenging step in the process. Discussing vision with a CEO that never gave it importance finds it difficult to realise its implication. Its implication being that vision puts everything into perspective. Vision pushes the business by giving it direction and purpose. Vision needs to be there, communicated and right. If your choices are not refelcting your vision, than your vision is wrong, or your choices may need to be reassessed.
“Once a vision is known, than what?”
A vision provides direction, and plays a major role in managing your staff as well as your staff’s expectations. Understanding that there are aspects outside commercials and your CFO’s numbers that are critical. Elements such as culture, environment, ethics and VISION, is what brings your staff to achieve the remarkable.
“But I know the vision of my company!”
Having a vision is critical. Communicating and living it effectively is just as critical. Involve your staff in determining how your company operates. Involve them in decisions and they are more likely to take ownership of the future of your business and make growth a reality.
Growth will effect your staff’s ability to manage the business. It is a fact. However, this effect can be properly managed. When management look at the perofrmance of the organisation, alongside the performance of its peaople, comparatively understanding the causes and effects will create a foundation for sustained growth.
Then there is capability, in terms of technical, personal and organisational capabilities. What elements or capabilities allows you to play with the bigger boys? What capabilities allows you to differentiate yourself from them? Both need to be assessed.
Business owners often have the tendency to play it ‘safe’ by sticking with what they know and therefore good at. The skills which built the business in the first place. How can one argue that that doesn’t work, if that skill got them there in the first place. Usually, this skill is functional, such as being highly proficient in sales. What owners need to be doing is stepping up.
A quick word of warning here as this is challenging. This can be emotional or simply territorial but is a process that needs to happen.
A business owner needs to coach and nurture the company’s staff. The new functional activity that the business owner must master is delegation. Delegation where the act is an automatic process.
The impact? The impact is that the business owner manages and not implements. Coaches and not operates.
Only then can growth be achieved and sustained.
Truth be told, many business achieve growth. Some take longer than others. Some reinvent the wheel.
Growth is a process. Coaching through your growth stage makes this stage planned, managed and more confident.
Remember business is a journey that should be exciting. Surely it’s about the commercial results, though it is also a lot about people.