Preparing for growth: How to structure your team for when expansion time arrives4 February 2019 Category : Entrepreneurship
So you’ve started your business and you want it to grow. But for that to happen successfully and smoothly, you have to plan for it right from the start. You must be very clear on your vision for the business and communicate that to your team. You also need to create a culture for growth, define everyone’s roles and responsibilities, and choose the right leaders. Finally, you need strong businesses processes and procedures in place, so you can grow from a solid foundation.
Let’s discuss these in more detail.
Be clear on your vision
The starting point in your journey is to have a clear vision – in your own mind – of where you want the business to go, including in terms of growth. You also need to be clear on the company’s mission – what it’s there to do – and the high-level strategy required to deliver the vision. Vision, mission and strategy are essential to any organisation that wants to grow – and it’s an opportunity to share your excitement and enthusiasm for what you’re doing.
As Stephen Covey put it in The seven habits of highly effective people, ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
Once you have that clear in your own mind, you can start to communicate it with your people. It’s very important to engage with them and bring them along with you, because as the business grows there will be pain points. But if everyone in the business knows where it’s going – and why – then it’s easier to get through the pain.
It also helps you to structure your business, because everything cascades down from your vision. It sets the scene for what you want to create, how you want to create it, what your key values are and what the culture should be. So let’s look at culture next.
Build a growth culture
You’re now very clear on your vision for the business – including the size you want it to be – and you’re starting to communicate that to your employees. They now know that growth is very important to you and your company, and also to them. You can now start to create a culture that supports and enhances this growth.
Firstly, encourage your employees to always think in terms of scalability. Keep educating them on the importance of growth and what they can do in their day-to-day roles to help make your company more scalable. From launching new products to training new team members, everything should revolve around the fact that the company is growing and must continue to do so.
You can do this by having an open communication stream on growth amongst the team, and educating their view on what growth is and what it means for them and the organisation. You should also nurture an open and honest environment, where creativity and innovation around growth are supported and encouraged. You want your staff to be very comfortable with change and growth. ‘All change brings opportunity’ as the saying goes.
Once your team members are behind your growth strategy and it’s built into your company culture, it will be easier to grow and structure your team accordingly.
Everyone in your organisation must understand what his or her role is, and what they are accountable for delivering. So role clarity is very important here. You need to define what everyone should be doing, their levels of authority and where they fit into the overall structure.
How they’re going to be measured – in terms of their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – is important too, and should be well defined. KPIs for your staff cascade down from your vision, mission and strategy – and should include measures around company growth. That’s because, as the great management consultant Peter Drucker pointed out, ‘What gets measured gets improved’.
Monitoring the performance of your staff is essential too, as it helps both personal growth and the growth of your business. So put a performance management process in place that includes a ‘Plan – Do – Review’ cycle. You can also use this to develop and encourage your staff, and continue their on-going education on the importance of growth.
Choose leadership wisely
This is also critical to growth because it’s the leaders you have in place who shape the culture and drive the business.
To quote Jim Collins, ‘First get the right people on the bus’.
So, hire leaders who will fit in with your values, support your growth, and encourage and motivate your staff to perform the best they can.
Core competencies to look for include leadership, managing performance, communicating with impact, influencing outcomes, managing change and achieving results. Your leaders should also be team players because you certainly don’t want a dysfunctional leadership team. And they should be good coaches to their own staff.
Put solid processes and procedures in place
Of course, to build anything – including your business – you need to start with a solid foundation. To support any growth, your company needs well-defined business processes and ways of working, including the procedures that instruct your people how to operate. From receiving orders to issuing invoices, and hiring staff to paying them – everything should run smoothly and consistently.
Without good processes in place, you risk chaotic growth. And that will jeopardise your business. You’ll lose customers and orders, and put extra pressures on your team. Efficiencies will go down, morale will plummet and staff turnover will increase. So you’ll have to put more time and effort into just running the business, rather than growing it.
It’s an exciting time to grow a business, but you do need to structure your organisation for that expansion. Firstly, you need to have a clear vision to communicate to your team. Then you need to create a culture for growth, define the roles and accountabilities for all staff,
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