Written by Aaron Stannard
Every small business owner, every entrepreneur who's ever taken the plunge to launch his own startup, and every entrepreneurial hopeful has dreamed of reaching that day when his or her business finally "takes off." It's that day when you finally start hit that monthly sales goal, or that day when the demand for your product is growing so quickly that you're struggling to fill it.
And that's when growing pains hit your business. The demands on your business start to rapidly outgrow your organization, and then you're stuck in a position where you forced to slap band-aids on everything without being able to consider the implications on your long-term growth.
The good news is that some growing pains are avoidable, so long as you properly prepare your organization for growth.
Preparing for Growth
What do you need in order to prepare for growth? Ideally, you need to establish the following things in your organization:
- Predictable Results - you need to know that if two different people in your organization do the same thing, like processing a new order, the results will be the same. If you can't guarantee that the outcomes will be predictably similar then your organization may experience a lot of additional overhead due to the liabilities associated with unpredictability.
- Standardized Quality of Output - you need to know that the quality of your output will be roughly similar across your organization. Imagine if you had an assembly line for manufacturing automobiles and no one would know if you were producing lemons or masterpieces until the vehicles hit market - it'd be a disaster. Well, what applies to a big auto manufacturer also applies to smaller organizations - you need to have predictable outcomes and a standardized quality of results in order to achieve scalability.
- Standardized Training Routines - you need to able to expand your human resources in an organized, routine fashion. The most important HR factor, aside from making good hiring decisions, is having a standard set of instruction to offer new employees. This is essential to creating both predictable outcome and standardized quality of output.
- Clearly Established Roles - roles are essential to growing your company; one person can have multiple roles, but it is important that you lay out a roadmap for all of the roles that are going to need to be filled as your company expands. Roles are simply a collection of assigned responsibilities and expectations, and these are necessary for establishing accountability throughout any organization.
How do you install all of these traits into your organization? The short answer is "by defining roles and processes for each aspect of your business".