5 ways to keep your operations on track during a growth phase
The growth you’ve dreamed of is happening, but are you (and your team) ready for the inevitable growing pains? Here are some tips to help keep your day-to-day operations on track while you manage expansion.
If your small business is hitting a growth phase, congratulations! You’ve obviously done a lot of things right and your hard work is paying off. But as you take on more business, it’s normal to hit new challenges. Maybe the team is feeling overstretched, or daily tasks are piling up as you work on the business rather than in it. Growth is a good problem to have, and with a few important tweaks, you can keep the good times rolling.
We get it – when business starts taking off, the instinct is to move faster. But small business owners are usually scrambling to find enough hours in the day as it is. The answer isn’t speeding up. According to Aaron Crossin, General Manager of Australian business coaching company Upcoach, delegation is key. “Our top tip for busy entrepreneurs would be to look at exactly what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis,” he says. "Focus on your strengths and the things you’re good at, and outsource [other] tasks so you can do what you do best.”
Good delegation could lead to clearer processes and systems. So let’s say you run a graphic design company and you’ve decided to branch out into website creation. Excellent. Hire that amazing new design manager to run the graphic design operations while you take care of the new web development arm. But as you train your new manager, try to formalise all the processes and systems that have always come naturally to you. This might be the way you greet clients, the update emails every week, or the quality of every project’s delivery – if these are the things your customers value, create a process around them, formalise, hand over and help your employees carry on delivering during times of growth.
Growth can be inspiring for some employees and unnerving for others – especially if you’re hiring new people and changing business structures. To keep everyone engaged and productive, keep talking, and do it regularly. Maybe it’s a weekly catch-up meeting, a monthly roadmap discussion or a daily brainstorming session. The key is creating a structure and rhythm to your communications so employees feel like they’re in the loop. When they know what’s going on, and how the goalposts are changing, they can stay on track and continue being productive.
When you start a business, you have to be across, well, everything, and no doubt you’ve done every role imaginable in the business so far. But during a growth phase, have a think about stepping back and letting go of some of the details. Hard, right? Well, not if you let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter to the big picture. Micromanaging? Let it go and trust your employees to get it done. Put down the icing and focus on making the cake instead.
Booming business makes everything bigger – dreams, worries, and yep, expenses. A good banker or financial advisor will provide helpful guidance and ideally the wisdom to spot new financial opportunities. For example, if you’re outgrowing your business location, your business banker could discuss loan options, rather than digging into precious financial resources. Keep your banker in the loop with big business decisions and you could find new and exciting ways to build on growth.
Just like there’s no golden rule to creating growth, there’s no exact formula for managing it. Every business is different, but with the right adjustments, you can start building something beautiful.
This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.