As per normal, there was a moment of inspiration for this article… it came about following a series of conversations with SME clients, all juggling the many ‘hats’ involved in running a developing business. Operational demands, client and sales development, personnel management, cashflow – the list goes on – and the biggest difficulty? All these various ‘hats’ draw attention away from the one thing that will guide their way out of ‘multi-hat’ management… the business strategy.
Growth is Painful
The undeniable truth of growth in business, is that at times, it can be quite ‘painful’ – or at least – uncomfortable for those leading it. Owners, principals, managers, founders all have to change their tack, and become directors or leaders of an evolving organism, which can at times be unruly and challenging as it advances.
There are realities which must be employed in order to harness your SME’s growth, and ensure it is on the right track. They can be difficult to implement, but are necessary nonetheless. My advice?
- Make time to step back [hard but absolutely required].
- Observe the growth to date in a detached and realistic manner; compare it to that of competitors, colleagues and those you aspire to. Where do you sit, by comparison?
- Examine your future plans in line with the current position of the business – what is working, what isn’t, what’s needed next?
Don’t underestimate the efficacy of the SWOT analysis – at every level in your organisation. Why? Because it will provide you with clarity and insight, as well as an informed viewpoint.
Take Time to Plan
Undoubtedly, the time needed to build strong scaffolding for your business growth plan is time well-spent, so don’t put your growth strategy on hold.
- Meeting clients experiencing the discomfort of growth regularly, I know only too well how difficult it may seem to take time ‘out’ to do the labour-intensive work of planning.
- The reality? If it doesn’t happen, you risk your business turning into a walking sticky-plastered-leaning-tower-of-Pisa… e.g. functioning, not at an optimum level, and leaning in a hugely questionable direction.
As I regularly say to clients – the one thing that will undermine stress and anxiety in business change – is planning and action. Why? Because it provides the individuals involved with a real sense of tangible outcomes, instead of merely feeling as if they’re simply ‘treading water’.
Next step… implementation… my next article!