“I don’t know exactly what I need but I know I need something different to help me get where I want to go.” A client said this a few months ago who knew she needed to add structure to her company but didn’t know what that structure should look like. It’s really a question of working with new tools, because structures are just rules, resources, processes, and systems, tools that help you achieve your goals. As your business evolves, have your tools evolved?
It’s very common for small business owners, defined as employing less than 10 people, to have never created a clearly defined business plan that outlines strategic goals, objectives, tactics and action items…and tools. They haven’t had the time.
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So if you find yourself in the middle of the best business problem ever, consistent growth and financial success, but you have yet to craft a strategic plan of where you want to go and how you want to get there, this brief article is for you!
Sometimes owners don’t know what they need because they don’t know what’s available. They believe in themselves and their company, they have the vision, skills, passion, confidence, and patterned success but they never stopped to create the underlying business structure because they were too busy working in the trenches…and making money!
I posed some simple questions to her:
- What are your goals?
- What is success?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Do you allocate your time to the business areas with the most potential for revenue growth?
- Could you achieve your goals more quickly with a clear business plan and model?
- What tools are you using to achieve your goals? Have your tools evolved over time?
Change Is Scary…And Rewarding
Change can be rewarding but it’s not always fun and its rarely straight forward. If you want to change your company but you don’t lay out a clear plan for how, why, and where you’re going, it’s like trying to design a home with the wrong tools. You need a computer, not a hammer.
5 pitfalls that companies experience as they try to change:
- Clear Strategy: Not having a clear strategy in place that is shared with key company stakeholders.
- Delegation: Allocating control, authority, and decision making to the appropriate people.
- Job-People Fit: Hiring the right person for the right job. Skills can be taught, adjusted, and enhanced. Character is more permanent, so hire people who fit the “mission and vision” of the company. Costs to replace employees can be 1.5x salary.
- Proper Tools: Leaders must ensure that they assemble the right tools and resources.
- Process: Change is a process, not an event. Too many leaders think change should unfold in a linear manner and it rarely does. With the right guidance, leaders should be prepared pivot and find creative ways to achieve their goals.
Great, so now you are on board with implementing change, avoiding these 5 pitfalls, and getting the right tools, so what’s next?
Loosen the Reins
When owners learn to “let go” and loosen the reins on their control over every business decision, they will be amazed at the results. When did Noah build the ark? Before the rain came. He had a plan and he executed it with his closest allies.
Here are 5 ways that loosening the reins will lead to increased value:
- Managerial Straight Jackets: If you delegate 75% of the administrative tasks that you do on a daily or weekly basis, that frees you to work on more profitable and important aspects of your business.
- Pride Comes Before the Fall: When you recognize that others can help you achieve your goals and that you can help them achieve theirs, nothing is impossible. Collaboration is beautiful.
- Path Dependence: When you allow your past successes and projects to determine what you’ll do in the future, you limit your growth opportunities. Always be evolving.
- Invest in Structure: Spending money is difficult for small business owners, but as the saying goes, it takes money to make money. If you don’t invest in your business – marketing, mentoring, coaching, assistants – you will limit your return.
- Low Expectation Clients: Low expectation clients = Low paying clients. How much money are you leaving on the table by taking on projects that are beneath your skill sets? How many more complex, more prestigious, or more financially rewarding projects are you passing up by focusing on the little fish? Become a whaler!
So don’t go into change or team building blind. Make sure you are using the right tools, including assembling the right team and developing a clear plan, to achieve your goals. Hire the right people for the right job and create a multi-tiered plan that addresses your short and long term goals. Loosening the reins and building internal structures will help you say, “I know exactly what I need, where I want to go, and who can help me get there.” And you can have fun doing it!