Growth is a reality many businesses come face-to-face with. It can either slow a business down, or help an enterprise refocus their priorities and come up with a plan for meeting new demands.
Some businesses choose to remain stagnant, which may be a sensible option if they aren’t adequately prepared for the obstacles ahead. Others opt to take on the challenge of scaling up to prepare for new layers of complexity. It isn’t necessarily easy, but the rewards are certainly worth the effort.
Growth is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to change, to grow and to adapt. The difficulty is that you have to be ready for new customers, more data, more communication and a general increase in responsibility.
It has often been said that if you’re growing, you’re not making any money, and for many businesses, that is true. However, if you are looking to prepare for growth within your company, the best way is to create procedures for your business. Here are several reasons you should take the time to adequately prepare procedures for your business:
The first thing business owners often do to prepare for growth is to hire more employees. It seems like an obvious solution, but many times it fails to address the issue at the core. Hiring without a plan tends to create more work for the business owner because they find themselves having to constantly field questions. And if the vision of the company isn’t communicated clearly, your customers will get mixed messages from your new (and sometimes old) team members.
During a period of growth, Dancing Mind’s Paula Baake discovered that when the vision of her company wasn’t communicated clearly, her customers received mixed messages from new employees. “The customers got mixed messages from us. The strength of our vision was not present. It also created a lot of confusion for the employees, especially whenever we brought in a new hire. It was like they were left to the sharks.”
Hiring alone will not solve your problems. Instead, you need to focus on creating documented procedures that will allow your company to run more smoothly. In fact, with proper procedures in place, the team you already have in place can often handle a greater client load.
Consider Jeff Newcorn, CEO of R. Jeffrey & Associates, Inc., who only has four employees, but was able to grow his company to earn over $1 million in annual revenue with an astounding 80 percent profit margin. How did he do it? By creating procedures for his business.
Work Becomes More Predictable
Every self-motivated employee wants to be able to bring their best work to the organization they work for. However, they can’t live up to your expectations unless you give them a specific target to aim for. So, how do you make that target clear?
Yet again, documented procedures can prove immensely beneficial in this process. Procedures are instructions, or step-by-step checklists that explain how to complete a particular task. An effective procedure is one that anyone can follow. This doesn’t mean that anyone within your company should be assigned to that specific task, but it does mean that it makes it easier for everyone involved to take over specific tasks in the absence of others.
When your team members know what targets to hit, they’ll be able to produce work that is more consistent and predictable. Furthermore, when the work being produced is consistent and predictable, your productivity will also skyrocket. You will be able to do the same jobs in less time.
There is another significant benefit to producing consistent, predictable work: you will do a better job of serving your customers. At the end of the day, what business owner doesn’t want to be able to create happy, loyal customers who keep coming back for return business?
We’ve talked a little bit about bringing on new team members and hiring to cope with the challenges of growth. However, to drive this point home, let’s look at how procedures can make onboarding faster and easier.
The main problem with new hires is that they don’t necessarily know how to do things the right way. Because they are new to the company and their role, they’re likely to have a lot of questions that need answering. These questions often get directed to the business owner. And without procedures in place, you will spend tons of time fielding the same questions, which takes away from your ability to effectively train new hires. The key is to have a procedure for brining on new hires. What would you need to put in place? A training program? A business manual? An employee handbook? All of these are excellent examples of procedures that can help you onboard more efficiently.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
Procedures allow business to scale up and meet new demands. Growth can put a lot of pressure on a company, but when you have a standardized way of going about your daily tasks, the increased efficiency will often allow you to handle more clients than ever before.
And in many cases, you may discover that with procedures in place, you don’t need to bring on new team members. GMR Transcription’s President, Ajay Prasad, was also able to transform his business with procedures, taking a 10-employee business that generated $250,000 a year to a 3-employee business that generates more than $1 million annually!
If you don’t have predictable procedures in place, it can be hard to manage the growing pains that come with an influx of new customers. A business that’s not prepared can easily crumble under the weight of new challenges if it isn’t ready for what’s to come.
If you aren’t sure whether you’re ready for growth, take a closer look at the pressure points in your business and figure out what you need to create procedures for. More often than not, it’s wise to begin with repetitive tasks that need to be completed regularly, and those that are causing slowdown within your business. If you deal with your biggest issues now, you’ll be better prepared for future growth.