Ideally, your business will grow at a modest to high pace, fully within your control, without a hitch. Reality is rarely that accommodating. Even with elegantly planned growth strategies, it’s easy to overlook a few things—such as the importance of your company’s everyday processes.
If you pay attention to the systems you have in place and consider them as part of your growth strategy, they can be your support structure. If you ignore process, you’re setting yourself up to collapse under the weight of new growth.
Take time now to assess and document the processes throughout your business, not just operations. This will support the growth of your company in four primary ways.
When processes are clearly defined and consistent, you can track metrics and gather data to make better decisions.
Metrics integrated into processes tell you things like current capacity and breaking points in the bell curve; true costs beyond the outlay of cash; or the point you’ll reach an economy of scale.
As an entrepreneur, you have likely made many decisions based on your gut, but decisions backed up by data are simply better decisions.
When you’re growing your business, you must determine if your processes are like spaghetti or cake. There’s not a major difference if you make spaghetti for two people or 2,000. You just add more ingredients in proportion.
However, baking is more of a chemical reaction. With rare exception, you can’t just double a recipe and expect the same result.
The same is true when scaling up your processes. Each business is different, as is each segment of your business. It may be as simple as duplication, or it may require a more delicate retooling to meet the greater demand while maintaining quality. Understanding the nuances of your processes will lead you to the best way to scale up.
Training Your People
Often, growth means you get to hand over one of the 10 hats you’ve been wearing to someone else. You need to transfer your knowledge to new employees.
Training, for many businesses, is having the new guy shadow one of your best people until he gets it. It’s a great way to learn, but it slows down the incumbent, who might not always be around to answer questions.
The new guy needs a training manual or some other job aid that he can reference. . You may even need to write a full curriculum. These materials can only be created when processes are fleshed out, consistent and clearly defined. Doing so will help new employees provide reliable output more quickly.
You were sending 500 items out the door each week, now it’s 1,000. Whatever the numbers, it is critical that the 999th is as good as the ninth. Your business is based on the perception and trust customers have of the products and services you offer. You can ensure quality across the board by identifying, documenting, and following best practices in your processes.
Doing the work to have well-defined, consistent processes can put you in the best position to grow your business and succeed.