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How To Expand Your Business

How To Expand Your Business
May 20
11:00 2017

LEADERSHIP EXPERT

Mark Wager often visits Fiji.  If you would like Mark to deliver training at your business contact him at Mark@Leadership.com.fj

 

 

It’s the aim of every Senior Manager to increase sales and expand the business, the bigger the business the more staff  can be hired, the greater the opportunities and greater the profits.

In business it’s commonly thought that bigger is better but there are risks involved with expanding a business.

In this article I’m going to explore the growing pains that can come with expansion and how to address them.

I get calls from companies who have experienced a period of growth, existing people have been promoted and new people have come on board and now they are having problems.

It’s common for a small business to be successful because they have a great team with shared values and a shared commitment yet when the team gets larger, the team is not as motivated and the atmosphere is still good but it doesn’t feel the same as it was.

People don’t seem as committed or as close.

They then come to me for advice on how to fix it and how to maintain their small team mentality when they have grown into a big team.

Every employee has a connection with the company that they work for and they have a relationship with their immediate team and Manager.

Within a company that is small the two separate relationships are one and the same, their immediate team is the whole company and their immediate Manager usually the owner or at least a Senior Manager now when a company gets larger the dynamics change.

The larger the team the more distinct the relationship is between the employee and the company and the relationship between them and their immediate team become stronger, they become two very different relationships.

This is why when I produce employee satisfaction surveys in large companies they can have very different results across the different teams.

One part of the company can be very highly motivated yet another team in another part can be very demotivated.

Very different results within the same company, with the same Senior Managers and same policies.

The question is, how do I fix this when a company calls me in for advice?

 

It’s not what you say it’s what you do that counts

Relationships are formed when there are a shared set of values.

We are attracted to form bonds with people who believe in what we believe in.

If you believe people should be treated in a particular way you are likely to want to associate with people who believe the same.

Successful teams have shared values.

Every business has company values and you are most likely to see them on a plaque in the lobby, or on the website or listed in everyone’s job description or on  performance plans.

Now regardless of what those values are, typically it’s something like honesty, respect, loyalty etc it’s not what is written down that matters instead it’s what people see.

You can say people are treated with respect but it means nothing unless you see people treated with respect every day.

When a company grows, it forms a layer of Managers who are,  in the eyes of their team, representatives of the company and if the Managers have a conflicting understanding of how those values are demonstrated on a daily basis then different relationships are formed and you end up with widely different employee satisfaction results as I mentioned above.

 

Your values have to exist in every decision made.

The solution is, during expansion, to ensure that the values  the company holds dear and have formed the backbone of previous successes are transparent in every decision made.

This is how a company like Netflix who over a decade went from a small video rental company into a $6bn worldwide streaming service.

They have a set of values that don’t just exist on a plaque.

They exist in every decision made.

For example, if one of those values is a commitment to high performance then people need to see that in action so if teammates are not performing they need to see them being held accountable, if not then the value of commitment to high performance is not real and not important and if it’s not important then you will only attract people who also believe it’s not important.

 

Hire people based on attitude rather than skills

If I had to highlight one business practice that I see people get consistently wrong It has to be recruitment.

Successful businesses take time to hire the right people who grow with the business.

If you get the right people on board, the people who have the right attitude and share the same values as you then everything else will work itself out.

Remember the majority of skills can be learned but it’s difficult to change someone’s attitude so it’s better when recruiting to focus on attitude rather than skills.

The traditional method of interviewing face to face is becoming more and more ineffective as it only determines who is good at interviewing rather than who’s good at the job.

Be prepared to think differently when recruiting. In the past I’ve done group interviews and even had candidates take part in team building activities to see how they interacted.

I’ve got them to spend time in the workplace to see how they would fit in. It takes more time but the time I spent was nothing compared to the time wasted if the employee recruited had a poor attitude.

 

Get your pay structure right

When a company is expanding the people who have enabled that expansion to happen become more valuable and the more valuable they get the more they are in demand from your competitors.

It’s difficult to keep good people so it’s important that they are valued correctly.

It’s common for companies to install pay bands for roles, a starting range and end range of what a person can be paid in that role or to introduce a standard rate of increase for salaries.

While this works in many circumstances in times of growth this can be a mistake.

If you are not rewarding people high enough you could lose a valuable person that is difficult to replace yet on the other hand if you are paying too much you could end up with a poor performer who is unwilling to move and ends up negative.

In times of growth you need a sense of flexibility so my advice is to ask yourself three questions when looking at how much to pay someone.

 

  1. What would this person be paid elsewhere?
  2. What would we pay for a replacement?
  3. If this person was offered a job elsewhere what would we pay to keep them?

If you ask yourself these three questions then you will achieve success in attracting and retaining the best people

 

The business world is a tough place to be and to achieve success at any level is a remarkable feat but just to demonstrate how difficult business is the challenges don’t stop when you are successful, your reward for success in business is the opportunity to face a whole new set of challenges.

Never forget growing your business is not the end of your journey but merely another step toward future success.

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"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
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May 2017
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