As business owners, words like “growth”, “increase”, and “gains” have a special place in our lives (maybe even in our hearts?).
From one year to the next, one month to the next or even one week to the next, many of us pour over our numbers to see how we’re doing, what taxes we may owe, what pay we may give ourselves, what investments we can make, and what future actions we can take.
Even if we’re not actively looking to expand our business, we’re still conscious about our growth; we need to keep up with inflation, we want to give ourselves a decent pay, and possibly replace that piece of equipment that is critical for our work. It’s all connected to our growth.
There are many aspects to growth, and a big one that many business owners immediately think about is the need to hire people for that to happen. Since that is such a big step to take for most, they put off strategic growth altogether until they’re literally bursting at the seams.
Then they hire in a rush, which is definitely not the ideal way to go about this important stage. Everyone knows it isn’t, but the immediate demands of the business makes it too common nonetheless. In the process, they justify a number of compromises, which they later need to work hard to make up for.
There is a better way. A strategic way that will set you up for growth gradually, even before you’re actually looking to expand. It will make the process so much more manageable and therefore also more fun. You will be in control, and can make timely decisions at each stage of your growth, rather than reacting to the proverbial fires and other burning needs.
And here is the thing: if you follow this general strategy, you may find that you can grow significantly without hiring staff for a long time - if ever!
There are many things you can, and quite frankly should, put in place before you consider hiring. You’ll benefit from them even if you don’t plan to ever hire staff in your business. Having a growth strategy is as much about making sure you maximize your own time and efforts as it is about bringing others on board.
Basically, there are three stages to growing strategically:
Nothing is rarely as neatly divided as a bulleted list would have you believe. There is of course some overlap or exceptions. Still, these three parts, in this order, are helpful to keep in mind.
In essence, being strategic allows you to build a solid infrastructure that your company needs to enable and sustain growth without too much growing pains. Much like a vine needs a physical structure to reach greater heights, your business needs a structure to hold your expanding operations.
Next week we will take a closer look at what each of them can do for you. See you then!
Veronika Ambertson is a former Human Resources professional with experience ranging from the private staffing industry, being a direct employer herself and spending close to a decade with the United Nations Development Programme. Having always been excited about the potential in change, Veronika is now back in her native Sweden, from where she coaches outwardly successful but inwardly (and secretly) struggling women across the globe. You can reach her and find out more by going to www.veronikaambertson.com.