We have all heard the saying “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Unfortunately, in the past 17-years in the workforce, I’ve seen companies fail time and time again because they failed to plan their company’s growth. For me, it all comes down to PEOPLE and SYSTEMS. When a company grows their business too fast without the operational procedures or qualified personnel in place to handle it, just like a structure, without the proper reinforcements in place, it is more likely to collapse.
I will always recommend having and maintaining a business plan. This plan should be reviewed annually and adjusted based on how your business progresses. It is inevitable that over time, your business will evolve. Keep your business plan up-to-date with current economic conditions, market trends, your company’s financial stability, etc. Your annual review of your business plan can then be used to document and implement your growth strategy. (Give me a call if you don’t have one).
My basic general guidelines for growing your business:
1) Before you grow, make sure the minimum operational needs of your business are being met. Do not even think about taking on more work than your current systems or personnel can handle.
Personnel – In the beginning when you are small, do not hire junior people. Instead, hire senior people who can take on multiple roles within your business. For instance, an experienced project manager, with NCSO certification, could take on the role of superintendent, project manager, and safety coordinator, eliminating the need to hire separate people for each role. A senior business administrator could likely handle contract administration, company bookkeeping, general reception etc. You may pay higher salaries, but you will save money by not having to have to hire multiple people when you don’t quite have the capacity.
Systems – This includes accounting, IT infrastructure, and project management procedures. Make sure all are in place and are effective for your current operational needs. If they are not effective, fix it prior to adding to it.
2) Once your personnel and systems are in place and killing it, you can consider growing your business.
Personnel – Bring on new people to separate those senior roles that are already in place. For instance, your experienced project manager can now hire a superintendent and a safety coordinator and your experienced business administrator can hire a separate bookkeeper and junior administrative assistant. BONUS: Because those senior roles were already in place, you will not only have solid managers, but training should be a breeze.
Systems – Because all of your systems are effective, and all the fixes have been completed, continue to expand on your current systems. Review your current operational procedures no less than monthly to review what is working and what is not. Quickly intervene in what is not working and make improvements as and where required.
3) Repeat steps one and two annually.
Ensuring that your people and systems are effective at keeping your company’s structure strong, will make adding fuel to the fire a lot more fun and a lot less risky…. and your clients will appreciate you for it!
As always, I’m always here to help you with your business plan or growth strategy. ~ Rebecca