Growing Pains? Advice on How To Successfully Scale Your Company
Ambitious entrepreneurs often are determined to grow their businesses by expanding into new areas, adding new products, and increasing the size of their workforce. But growth comes with potential hazards, which is why one of the leading causes of business failure is overexpansion – growing too much too fast.
Growing a company involves many complexities, which change as you grow. If you’ve been a parent and raised kids, you can relate it to their various ages and stages. Much as your kids need different things at different ages, your business has different needs at different stages. To stay on track with those changing needs, business leaders need to do the following.
- Constantly evaluate employees. When a company is growing and improving, employees need to do the same. As an advocate of lifelong learning, I expect employees to commit to continual personal improvement through reading, seminars, or other educational efforts. In addition, while I like to promote from within, I will look elsewhere when necessary. Scaling requires your team to evolve, but it also requires new blood. As a company is growing, sometimes you have to go out and recruit the talent to help you get to that next level.
- Protect the brand. As the business grows, it’s crucial to adhere to standards and have quality controls in place. Otherwise, the business won’t build brand loyalty. If you go into a McDonald’s and order a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, you want that Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to taste the same in every location. That’s ultimately what every national brand is working toward.
- Embrace the future. Scaling is all about embracing the future, and that includes understanding Millennials, who will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Younger generations want to know they’re doing something – which makes a lot of sense when you think about how they grew up being able to get answers any time they wanted them. At our company, we use an open-book management approach that fits well with the transparency younger workers desire. Personal growth, education, and continuous learning are also things they are looking for. If companies today want to scale, they need to embrace Millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.
- Take back their time. To be an effective leader as your business grows, you must consistently work on time management. Here are five steps for doing this:
- Decide what’s important and focus on two or three top priorities each day.
- Stop doing some tasks; instead, delegate or automate them.
- Start on the most important thing first.
- Learn to say no.
- Block out time for self-improvement and life needs.
Scaling is a process, not a destination. If you really want your business to grow, you must be constantly moving, constantly evaluating, and constantly improving.
Shawn Burcham, author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder and CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife Julie started out of their home in 1998. The company, with more than 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states, is best known for Champs Chicken, which was started in 1999. PFSbrands also is the parent of Cooper’s Express and BluTaco.
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