“Can business growth be a bad thing? Here are three things you’re going to need to know before you grow.
Mark Whitmore, head coach, Lodestone True North
Let’s talk about something that Jim Collins pointed out in his book, Good to Great. He showed that most businesses die from indigestion, not from starvation. You can end up taking advantage of opportunities that you have no business doing, or that are outside of your sweet spot, or that you’re not ready for. So I want to talk about these three things.
But I’m going to first give you a metaphor of your business…if you think of your business as a vehicle, a bike, car or motorcycle, some sort of vehicle, it is a conglomeration of systems all put on a structure. Most of our businesses, if it’s anything like mine, end up slinging things together….duct-taping stuff…zip-tying stuff and taking that vehicle screaming down the highway while it’s leaking oil…smoking and sputtering because you’re a visionary, you’re the kind of person who’s out there just trying to get it done before it’s ready. In that sense, we’ve got to get our businesses put together better if we’re going to take it faster, further or try to get it to kind of do much more intense things.
1. Fix Your Existing Internal Systems
The first step in getting your business to perform and grow, is to fix your system and to systemize your business in a much deeper way. When you press on the gas pedal the accelerator in your car, there are a number of systems inside of your car that are wired together in such a way that they respond automatically. So, the dynamism in your foot is not dynamism in your system. Systems all work really well together, and with your business, you’re going to need to get your system to function better.
As you go faster the systems adapt…systems actually begin to work better or work well together and they don’t smoke, they don’t grind together and create friction.
2. Solidify Your Company Culture
The second thing you’re going to really need to fix is your culture. You need to have a really strong culture in order to grow. The reason I say that is because culture can take a hit as you add more people. When you grow you’re going to put more people in your business and when you add more people your culture gets diluted a little bit, it gets water down a little bit and if you don’t have a good strong magnetic culture with a great center of gravity or great kind of mass at its center, you are not going to preserve that culture. So, you’ve got to have a good strong culture that’s going to survive being diluted by new folks that you bring on.
3. Attract & Retain Great Talent
The third thing you’re going to need to fix or change in your business is you’re going to need to get really good at attracting and retaining great people and great talent. Often as folks are building their businesses, they’re really getting good at producing their goods or service but they’re not thinking about how to attract great talent. They’re kind of haphazard about attracting great talent. If you’re going to grow your business from where it is to the next level you’re going to have to get a lot better at attracting and retaining really good talent and eventually that really needs to become, as a principal anyway, your primary job. Them, all those great people and great talent do all the production.
Those are 3 things that you need to fix things or know before you grow.
Mark Whitmore, head coach, Lodestone True North.”