An unfortunate thing happens when an entrepreneurs launches a business and it’ s very successful. Often, the success is too much for the owners. They don’t possess the Management skills required to scale the business. They’re great with the technical skill, but have no idea about how to manage growth. Growth must be managed to become sustained. Before you are forced to scale or thinking about scaling to another level, have these four things in place.
1. Deeply ingrained Mission/Purpose
Your business Mission/Purpose is the supreme leader of your business vision, values and ultimately, your management strategy. It dictates the what, when and why of your business. According to current research ( see the Gallup Studies), the most successful businesses have Missions/Purposes that address three things: first, the promise to deliver services or products with quality and value to their customers; second, the promise to contribute to the growth and fulfillment of its employees and third, the promise to contribute to the welfare of society. Your Mission/Purpose is the force that will propel your business toward success. It is an important element of your business culture.
“In conducting a meta-analysis of 49,928 business units across 192 organizations representing 49 different industries in 34 countries, Gallup scientists discovered that margin and mission are not at odds with one another at all. In fact, the opposite is true. As employees move beyond the basics of employee engagement and view their contribution to the organization more broadly, they are more likely to stay, take proactive steps to create a safe environment, have higher productivity, and connect with customers to the benefit of the organization. Mission drives loyalty across generations. Understanding a company’s purpose helps employees answer yes to the question “Do I belong here?” Gallup’s research shows that ensuring employees have opportunities to do what they do best every day and emphasizing mission and purpose are the two strongest factors for retaining Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers.”
2. Well practiced and applied Management skills.
Business research has revealed that many small businesses fail because of situations occurring in the business itself, not outside forces. Who controls the activities inside the business? The owner and the affiliates. A further analysis shows that the perspective of the owners, as he/she controls the operation, is hindering business development. The owner’s focus is on the technical skills he/she brings to the enterprise. For example, he/she may be an expert accountant, baker, computer scientist, plumber, or carpenter experiencing great success in their skill. However, as the demands of the business increase, various functions are not attended to such as planning and projecting resources for serving more customers. This also includes the negligence of critically important administrative functions. When this much is left undone, the business fails. Critical functions must be managed and performed for fortifying and sustaining a business which makes basic Management Skills extremely important for entrepreneurs. It requires Management skills with artful application because Management is art and skill. The skills can be easily learned but the method used for the application depends on the personal qualities and intentions of the manager. Each situation will require artful application, unique to the circumstances.
3. Clearly defined documented and working Systems
Small businesses that succeed develop systems of operation for almost every function performed. Your systems are designed to help you achieve each of your major strategic objectives. See “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber and “Stick With It” by Lee Colan. Business systems are activities performed in a consistent manner to achieve the organization’s goals. They are performed in several steps and the successful manager documents these steps for easy replication. To most, this will be boring and tedious but once the documents are completed, this will give the manager time to do what he/she enjoys doing and enable this owner to sustain and enlarge the enterprise. This is one of the great secrets of successful business that many small business owners avoid. Creating systems simply starts with documenting what you do and how you do it. It could be called an operations manual or a systems manual or some unique name that might come to you; but the object is to document the successful operations that you want to make routine.
How will these systems help you scale? You will be able to analyze each system, change or improve each system in a separate process while keeping others intact. Carefully plan to adjust or change relevant systems as you grow. For example, your financial system may require larger cash reserves before you scale.
4. Clearly defined targets for each System
Determine targets for all systems BEFORE you scale. Consider your marketing, product delivery, customer service, talent acquisition and all operations that are necessary for your business existence. For your financial system, you will set targets for cash reserves, profit, operating expenses and others. In fact, each component of each system will have targets.
Systems are what you create if you want to grow your business because it simplifies the process of growth or franchising. Working systems can be used at each stage of the business. No need to “reinvent the wheel”, just continuously ajust and improve them.
“Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself. Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him. Significance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him, but legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.” – John C. Maxwell
I hope you’re convinced of the reason business owners need Management skills with an artful application of these skills when successfully scaling an enterprise. Your Mission/Purpose must be so ingrained in you and everyone involved that there is never a question about your basic business intentions. Management skills will help you reach your business targets efficiently and effectively. With these elements in place, you will strategically manage clearly defined systems at every stage of your business development. You can achieve your goal of continuos scaling to higher levels in your industry.
“Bobby Fischer, the great chess champion, once said, “Winning in this game is all a matter of understanding how to capitalize on the strengths of each piece and timing their moves just right.” ― Verne Harnish, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t
Easy guide to basic Management skills: “20 Directives for Small Business Success: Do or Die”