Most small business owners dream about growing their company to a point where it will ultimately run itself. An autonomous organisation that makes good on returns without you having to micromanage every single detail? Sounds perfect. But these type of organisations don’t just build themselves. So how can you scale your small business without becoming a full time people manager?
You started out with a small team. It might have just been you in the beginning. But as you started becoming more successful and putting meaningful runs-on-the-board, your team grew. All of a sudden, managing people became just as important (and sometimes more time consuming!) that managing your actual business. Anyone who has ever had to actively manage a team of people before (with different needs, wants, ambitions and personalities) knows how difficult it can be. So, fearing that it may become your full-time job as your business grows is a valid!
So how do you scale your small business without becoming a full-time people manager? It is all entirely possible to do, but for a large part it will need deliberate planning and strategising. And it will come down to the specifics of who you employ and how you train them as to whether you can end up trusting them with your business’s success.
So, let’s take a look at a few techniques that could help you achieve it!
Your first move needs to be establishing a systems-driven environment. Basically, this is a solid support network that employees follow religiously to achieve the same high-quality results every time. Take a company like Starbucks, for example. Almost everything is done the same way from store to store. These standard operating processes (S.O.P) guarantee that your coffee will taste the same regardless of where the in the world you drink it. It also allows the individual shops the opportunity to function without having to carry the heavy weight of developing, implementing and managing individual HR practices.
You want to develop standard protocols that any new employee could pick up and get the same results from. You could do this through video recordings, articles, or training programs – but the key is consistency. This way, even in the absence of some team members (you included), the business has the ability to run on autopilot while maintaining the same product or service standards.
Naturally, when building your team, you look for competent individuals who are qualified to fill available positions. But, it is equally important that you consider emotional maturity in your hires. And by maturity, we don’t mean the individual’s age. Rather, you want people who can take personal responsibility for themselves and their work result. You want people who can work without supervision and can be trusted to complete their objectives with integrity and openly communicate when they’re struggling. An emotionally mature team will support you in your scaling efforts by strengthening the foundations for your business and not bogging you down with their micro-management.
Accountability is another key factor that is crucial in a self-running business. Your company’s systems will depend on the successful collaboration between different departments and this is down to the individuals themselves. By establishing a culture of accountability from the ground up, each team member in your organisation will be able to count on the other to do their part without fail.
And when you make it clear that accountability is one of your company’s core values, this also means that you (as the business owner) must be the most accountable! Showing-your-work like this will cause a trickle down effect, resulting in you getting a team of great people who can all count on one another and feel supported at the same time.
In a highly efficient organisation, each member knows what the company’s vision is and actively works towards fulfilling it. Likewise, to get optimal results, you want to sell your company’s vision to your employees. Give them measurable and well-defined goals, so they know exactly what part they have to play in achieving the vision.
You can do this during company and team meetings, or even print it out and place it all around the office, so they are constantly reminded. And don’t forget to celebrate their wins with them!
As a successful entrepreneur, you’ve no doubt been involved in almost every process of your growing business. You do everything from decision-making and delegating, to supply chain and client communication. And now people-management. As your business grows, your employee numbers will no doubt grow as well. Making sure that you have clear systems and processes in place now will ensure that people management doesn’t become your full-time job later on.
At Oracle Tree, we specialise in helping small businesses grow and scale. We do everything from web design and digital marketing to helping you develop systems and processes to support you. If you are a small business owner looking to scale your business, feel free to contact us, and we’ll walk you through it.
What could you do if your business simply… worked?