So far, you’ve done well. As a solopreneur, you’ve grown your business, added employees, and continued growth. The problem is, it’s becoming more and more difficult to juggle everything you do. Small businesses often plateau because the business plan that got them there becomes ineffective. You can’t manage a grocery store like it’s a roadside vegetable stand. Although there are examples of a “one man show” growing a business, it’s not the most sustainable or productive path to growth. If you’d like to grow your business and have a life, below are a few keys to success. Maintaining growth doesn’t happen on it’s own.
Set Policies and Procedures
I know what you may be thinking — written policies aren’t needed because if you hire good people, they’ll know what to do. The problem is you’re a driven business leader. You had the vision to start your own successful business, and you expect your employees to think like you do. They probably don’t, or they wouldn’t be working for you. Sharing expectations and establishing systems doesn’t stunt entrepreneurship — it GUIDES it.
There are two reasons for training. Offering training allows you to hire for character, rather than skills alone. Problems in the workplace are more often caused by lack of character, not skills. There are positions that will, of course, require skill — attorneys, engineers, designers — but even then — hiring for character first will strengthen your organization. Ongoing training is also important to keep employees on track and is a positive commitment to your team.
Organize Consistent Communication
To this point, you’ve probably not needed to schedule communication; you’re either working together or you’ve chatted when needed. Nothing wrong with that, but now you need another level to be certain everyone is on the same page. Whether it’s electronic communication or group meetings, you need to consistently discuss status and planning. How often should you meet? As often as there are significant changes in status and planning.
Give Vision and Direction
As the leader of the organization, it’s your responsibility to share the vision and give direction. Where is the company headed and how will we get there? This isn’t accomplished with a mission statement, alone, but by referring to it whenever possible. Tie the vision of the organization into current activities. Remind the team where it’s going, and how their contributions get us there.
Work IN the Business, Not On It
For example, if you’re the only salesperson, and lead gen follow-up now takes the majority of your time, it’s going to be difficult to maintain growth. How will you grow the entire business if you’re entrenched in only one part of it? If you want both continued growth and time for a life, you’ll need to delegate responsibilities. By delegating and guiding others, you can concentrate on planning, training, and communication.
If maintaining growth is part of your vision for your small business, you’ll need to let go to grow. Trying to do it all yourself is not the best plan for growth OR your health and lifestyle. Learn to hire good people, give them direction, and lead them with continued training and communication. If you plant and nurture the seed, it will eventually grow on its own. Is your business growing? If so, how have you accomplished it?