Killing the business you love involves mistakes, misdemeanours and (sometimes) stunning failure. So how do you avoid similar pitfalls?
Often it’s the step from entrepreneur to a public listing and becoming accountable to a board and shareholders that brings people undone.
Often SMEs fail to thrive because their founder fails to recognise that what got them to where they are is not what will get them to where they want to be.
As owners and CEOs they can be slowly, without realising it, kill a thing they love: their business.
This happens because each stage of the business life cycle requires a different type of leadership.
Innovators who have a vision or have spotted an opportunity are the reason a business exists and the best leaders for the earliest stages of business.
They have passion and perseverance, and because the team is usually small, their contagious enthusiasm will power the business.
Sales are the most important driver once the business is launched successfully, so the leader at this stage has to be committed to growing market share and revenue.
Sometimes the initial enthusiasm that created the product or service is enough to do this. But a business can get into complications when a business owner is more committed to the product than growing the business.
At this point, it’s essential to build an effective management team and generate scale based on the success of the previous stage.
Leaders at this stage need the skills not just to grow the business but build the structure, systems, and processes required to deliver on the promise of even greater growth.
It’s at this stage that many entrepreneurs lose interest, confirming the importance of having a good management team in place.
A business that has successfully grown its market share is now ready to strategically expand into new products, services, markets, or niches.
The leaders now have the dual role of looking outward to explore new opportunities, while simultaneously ensuring internal governance stays on track.
This stage requires a high level of tolerance for complexity along with strategic acumen.
Business at this stage is all about protecting an asset.
A leader will do best to focus on consolidation and cost containment. While some refining of the operations and offer will continue, this is not the time for drastic innovation and ongoing change.
It’s important not to slip into stagnation, but leaders at this stage are also required to provide stability and confidence.
It’s tempting to think we can lead our business through each of these growth stages.
Crises often mark the transition between growth stages, and they’re a great way of alerting us to the need to change or make changes.
An effective leader knows how to deal with the challenges that arise.
In any business, not just startups, it’s often when a technically competent manager assumes responsibility for running a team that we notice them struggling.
The challenge of motivating a team to love your business as much as you do can be hard. A leader can learn to manage and motivate people.
It’s often only the recognition that they need to learn that stands in the way.
The bigger the business, the higher the responsibility for the people in charge to know what’s happening with the finances.
As a business grows, it’s no longer sufficient for one individual to keep track of the bank balance.
Knowing what your numbers mean, accessing adequate funding, having competent staff and a great accountant make all the difference.
For a business to thrive, it needs reliable, scalable, flexible systems and processes, including financial systems.
It’s the leadership’s responsibility to ensure systems are understood and used. The goal is to build an organisation where others complete the bulk of decisions and tasks without your input.
My experiences as a business coach and mentor have shown me that for most entrepreneurs this is the most difficult step.
But having the best systems and great people in place is the only way your business will be able to meet demand as it grows.
We are here to help –
Start here with our free survey and we’ll send you a report that will help you identify the gaps in your people practices and processes.
Get in touch and we’ll take you through our 5-step process to see what we can do together.
This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.
"Wow, what can I say…. I found the Harrison reports to provide remarkable insights into your preferred behaviours and how you cope with stress. This is an invaluable tool for any business owner who wishes to maximise the use of their human capital, and I can highly recommend the use of Harrison Assessments reports with Susan's debrief. It simply works! 😊"
- Christopher Cachia, CEO and Principal, CCA Financial Planning
"Coaching with Ben gave me a great opportunity to reflect and explore strategies, tips, and tools to improve ways of working and to work through opportunities & challenges. I really valued the focused discussion on specific areas to support my growth and development. I highly recommend working with Ben."
- Manager, National NFP
"In a challenging role in a new organisation, coaching with Paula was the ideal time to reflect, problem-solve, brainstorm options and arm me with next steps in all areas - from staffing, internal politics and relationships to tackling key initiatives. The sessions were by video and face to face, both equally effective. Using video allowed for easy integration of sessions into my busy workdays without any hassle. Paula’s style of coaching quickly built trust so I felt safe being vulnerable, quickly getting to the heart of a number of issues and propelling me and my performance forward significantly!"
- Executive GM, People and Culture
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
Jessica Hill - Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
Chris Bulmer - National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead employee and team development sessions."
Shaun Stanfield - Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet