As I had previously written in an article for Entrepreneur Magazine, ‘Growth’ can have multiple meanings, and thus require different approaches based on the goals sought.
The word ‘growth’ can be misleading. An entrepreneur can launch a one-man shop, and when he/she adds a second employee, that is growth. If a one-man/girl increases contracts or sales, that too is ‘growth.’ But regardless of the speed or size of the growth, however, a small company can only grow to a certain point before they hit a glass ceiling. When you reach it you have a lot of decisions to make.
As I mentioned in the Entrepreneur Magazine article,
Launching a business and turning it into a revenue-generating enterprise is daunting. Becoming self-sustaining and profitable all the more so. However, that is just the warm-up drill; the real chore is to stabilize, manage, and grow that business in an ever-changing world. – Bruce T. Dugan
Getting stuff done is at the root of any business venture. It may sound trivial, but many start-ups strategize themselves right out of business because they don’t get stuff done!
To break beyond the growth ceiling, an entrepreneur (or even a small business) may have to consider a complete reorganization of structure, people, processes, protocols, and systems. Today, technology is driving new innovations for business owners in general, and automation in particular.
Automation is to your time, what compound interest is to your money! – Rory Vaden
The above quote is perfectly on point. Automation, from billing, payables, subscriptions. accounting, marketing, lead capture, reports, and ongoing task management, can save an entrepreneur 100s of hours a month, Hours = $$$.
(If you need assistance with automating your business, contact Indra PR today, we can help).
How to Grow your Business
SUMMARY: Systems, people, culture (including protocols), strategies, and tactics.
Automation is only one part of a systems overhaul. The other is ‘scalability’. This is true for human services (i.e. accounting, legal, marketing, PR, etc), subscription platform services (i.e. Facebook, hosting services, mobile apps, magazines, etc.). or product selling companies. Any company that wants to grow has to be scalable so that your supply can stay ahead of demand. Could you imagine if in the early days of Facebook if Facebook worked intermittently? If their services kept going down due to usage overload, MySpace just might have won that battle. Sustainability is the result of scalability.
With a solid, scalable infrastructure in place, there is still a lot to do. Systems can automate tasks, but people run businesses, And more specifically, the right people.
For a true entrepreneur, launching and running a business is exhilarating. And caught up in that enthusiasm, many look to grow quicker than ready, and make people-hiring errors. Sometimes they hire friends, — because what’s better than experiencing the thrill of sharing your passion with close friends? This can go either way; close friends have some built-in loyalty and want to help you succeed. But they may also not have the skills you need or the objectivity to provide fresh eyes on a subject.
Regardless of who you hire — friends or not –, those people need to become a team. And teams are built out of a root corporate culture.
What is Corporate Culture?
Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires. A company’s culture will be reflected in its dress code, business hours, office setup, employee benefits, turnover, hiring decisions, treatment of clients, client satisfaction, and every other aspect of operations.
2017 was a significant year for corporate culture. It was the year that Zappos, Starbucks, Google, and Netflix all made the news for talking about company culture. Here are what some famous leaders had to say about company culture:
- “The number one muscle to flex in hiring is culture.” – Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot
- “When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.” — Brian Chesky, Co-founder, and CEO, Airbnb
- “Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur” — David Cummings, Co-founder, Pardot
- “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker, Author
- “Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company, and have everyone live true to them. These behaviors and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as a culture.”
– Brittany Forsyth, SVP of HR, Shopify
So now you’ve built (or are building a team as you go), you’ve developed a company culture, and set up systems, automated were possible, This becomes the solid foundation to grow.
You’ll also need to develop protocols and processes that are interwoven into the culture. Decide whether protocols will be used as a guiding principle, as opposed to the hardened rule.
For example. if the culture and the company mission statement are committed to “the customer is always right”, then in certain instances, an employee may ignore protocol if it results in customer satisfaction. Other companies, such as Best Buy, with whom I have a love/hate relationship, many times have left me a very unhappy customer because no one had the authority to override the company policies — employees were “not” allowed to alter from strict protocols — protocols that weren’t able to solve my current dilemma.
Thus, you need to think through all possible scenarios and modify them, from time, based on your employee’s inputs.