It is safe to say that upon starting a business, every founder imagines their solution having permeated the market and being a household name in society. However as vivid as this mental image may be, successfully turning it into a reality is the task that separates great businesses from mediocre ones.
Although your business is currently turning R10 000 into R15 000, at some point it needs to transform into a dynamic entity that will equally be capable of turning R1 million into R1.5 million. This process of scaling comes with some realities that could prove useful to know beforehand.
Before expanding, clarify your purpose for existence
There will be tough times ahead, and there needs to be a clear reason for your company’s existence, in order for your workforce to pull together during the hard times. For example, my company exists to create lasting connections for people and brands, and this purpose should guide strategic decision making amongst all employees moving forward.
You need to master the art of letting go
In the beginning, it makes sense for the founding team to perform all functions of the business. Having taken the decision to expand my team, I believe in the following expansion test: ‘Given the resources currently at your disposal, to what extent are limited man hours the main constrain to your business’s growth?’
Once you have determined that more ‘manpower’ is what your business needs, start preparing to let go! Most entrepreneurs fall into the trap of not being able to effectively delegate because they want things done their way.
You should just be comfortable in knowing that, although things may not be done to your exact specifications moving forward, they will be done… this is what matters most for your business growth.
Nobody understands your business like you do, therefore you should know exactly what area of your business needs immediate human capital, assuming financial resource constraints.
Understanding that the core functional areas in any business are its people, the product/service offering, finances and strategy; to the extent that it is not possible to outsource some of these functions, one ought to be very specific about which particular outcomes in each function need to be addressed.
Growing your team, the inevitable job descriptions
One of the toughest exercises I have come across is having to draft job descriptions for new hires. Although you can outsource this, lean start-up methodology encourages that all functions be internalised until absolutely necessary.
One of the best methods to give clarity in this regard is to be very specific about the outcomes that are desired, and then try your best to describe the traits that a successful candidate should have to thrive in achieving them.
Breed the right culture for optimal productivity
It is said that a business’s corporate culture is greatly influenced by its founders, being cognisant of this, and being clear about what values underpin behaviour in the workplace will bring you one step closer to creating an environment in which there is alignment between employee behaviour & corporate culture.