How to tackle small business entrepreneurial growing pains

Growing your business is a common goal for most business owners.

While it seems like a natural desire for anyone who owns a business, the path to growth can be a rocky one, especially if you don’t have a few key things in place first.

Successful growth comes down to five important traits:

  • People
  • Process
  • Training
  • Culture and
  • Technology.

If you can get these five in place, you will be well on your way to true and sustainable growth.

The right people

A business is only as good as the sum of its parts, and this is especially true when it comes to the people you hire. Every time you hire a new member of staff, your job description is the best initial tool to attract the right talent for you.

Get specific about your requirements, and don’t rest until you find the best person for the job, even if it takes a little longer than you might have initially hoped.

Hiring a new member of staff is a massive deal for any business, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If the job description outlines a specific skill set – for example, five years of experience and a good attitude – then make sure you go out and recruit specifically for that person.

Ensure all new employees are rigorously screened and skill tested to ensure quality service, and are provided with ongoing training, development and support.

Ideally, you’ll want to prioritize hiring full-time members of staff over contractors. While contractors might look and feel like their full-time counterparts, they’re not the same as constant, full-time members of your team.

Since contractors regularly work with multiple businesses, they’re not incentivized to prioritize your company’s objectives over their own. In my experience, hiring full-time staff can help build a stable team, helping you to foster loyalty and commitment to your business.

Staff will likely be more invested in the company’s goals and can be trained to a fixed set of processes. Full-time staff will then stick to those set of processes and ensure that quality measures are met and that KPIs are hit.

This makes it easier to provide, consistent, quality customer service from whatever touch point they’re interacting with your business from. As a result, you can keep everything in-house, making it easier to manage workloads, guide your staff and keep your IP secure.

The right process

When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to get away with doing things in an ad hoc manner, with no real processes in place. But once you start to grow, it’s vital that your entire team are on the same page, and work to a documented, easy-to-understand process.

Processes ensure that quality measures are met and that KPIs are hit. This makes it easier to provide, consistent, quality customer service from whatever touch point customers are interacting with your business from. As business grows, this becomes even more important.

Having a well-documented process that is easily found and easily accessible will allow you to focus on the things that will actually help you scale, rather than spending your time stuck in an endless spiral of micromanaging.

A well-documented process is also a valuable asset, one that will show value should someone want to buy your business one day.

The right training

Training is critical, whether it’s technical training, product training or customer service training helping to ensure consistency in service delivery levels and will also help boost staff morale. It shows your team that you care for them and want them to excel in their career.

In Service Today, we train staff as franchisees and as if it were their own business. Training my staff is key to ensure that our high-quality standards are met and upheld. It’s an upfront cost, but the outcome ensures that customers are satisfied and that repeat business is secured.

The right culture

Culture is everything. The business with the better culture wins, hands down. It’s no longer just about the management and leadership style in your business, it’s about building a happy work culture in every sense of the word.

When the culture is right, it has the power to get your team thinking outside the box, acting in a more proactive way, and generally having a better time at work. This in turn will lead to better staff retention rates, productivity, and ownership over their role.

Your customers can smell your culture a mile away. If your team enjoys their job, they will naturally want to provide customers with the best service possible, because they actually care about the company they’re working for.

As your team grows, a strong culture is the best and most effective way to make this happen.

The right technology

Your business needs good tech. It’s a crucial competitive advantage that will help you become more efficient and more agile. It will save you from double handling, help you to become leaders in your industry, and provide you with contingencies for emergency situations.

For example, during the pandemic, a lot of businesses struggled to work from home. A significant reason for this was because they did not have the right tech in place.

Our tech is entirely cloud-based from CRM, emails, storage; even our phone system is on the cloud. This ensures that at any given day or time, we can work from home without disruptions.

While keeping people, process, training, culture and technology all juggling at once might seem overwhelming, you’ll find that each spoke of the wheel helps and nurtures the other.

For example, the right people will help build the right culture, and great processes will come about as a result of having the right technology. After a while, your entire business will start to grow naturally, easily, and with far fewer of those pesky teething problems.

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