Even with the best will in the world sometimes the harder you try to be successful in business, the more difficult it can be to make an impact.
You must have known the situation when you’ve:
So what’s the problem?
The truth is that many businesses follow a well trodden path, called the “S Curve”. In this they moving tentatively from the point of start-up but find their feet through adopting a successful approach that is often dependent on key people, key products and the energy and adrenaline of a start-up.
However, successful, this existence is not sustainable and the business soon experiences “burn-out” which might be characterised by a number of features:
Moving from adolescence to adulthood
Moving towards maturity on the “S Curve” is a notoriously tricky transition, requiring the owners of the business to recognise that continuing as if nothing was happening is not a viable option. Successful transition requires the business to move away from some of the very factors that made it successful in the first place: dependence on only a few people, a simple core product, and a reliance upon a “just do it” mindset that used to be full-proof in overcoming any obstacle.
So what’s the solution?
To paraphrase the words of George Bernard Shaw, the bad news is “for every complex problem, there is a simple solution, which is wrong”…so never believe anyone who tells you there is an easy answer.
However, the good news is that focus on 4 areas will help you overcome “The Growth Paradox” and, at the same time, ensure that your business moves up the “S curve”.
The 4 Ps Approach focuses on:
Now the days of convoluted strategic plans are gone, however, you will need to spend some time with your senior team thinking about your mission and you should be able to describe it in only a few paragraphs. Honda’s “Kill Porsche” created a 2 word mission statement that united the workforce – however long, yours needs to be equally easy to communicate to all the staff.
Having acknowledged that they cannot do everything, the business owners’ main responsibility is to identify the key tasks and roles required within the business to achieve the mission. The organisational structure should take into account both the key tasks to be achieved and the key skills of their employees. Where there are gaps these need to be filled through recruiting or training staff. Organisational restructures are dreaded by employees and are a time of great stress so regular communication is critical, reminding them of the mission and why the changes are important. To make the most of the new structure, all staff should have clarity of their new role and be clear what they need to achieve through a few well chosen targets which are discussed regularly with their line manager.
Your current business processes are likely to have evolved and it is essential to re-look at them through the eyes of your customers. Key areas to focus upon include:
So you’ve created a plan, developed a new organisational structure and introduced streamlined processes but you will need to create additional mechanisms to assure sustained growth will occur year after year.
Questions to ask yourself:
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.