Growing a business can be difficult, time consuming and, at times, completely overwhelming – especially when quick growth is needed to meet client expectations and market opportunities. When we have families to tend to and other commitments to uphold it can seem particularly daunting. As a working mother of two, I know all too well the constant pressure women in the workplace feel.
Successfully growing an office while maintaining its unique culture can often feel like an unattainable accomplishment. But I have found it is possible by setting clear (and limited) goals, empowering the right leadership team and regularly communicating during the process. Over the course of seven years my office grew from a modest group of 10 employees to nearly 130 today. At the same time, my company experienced 30 percent year-over-year growth. Here are my recommendations on where to focus your energy when attempting to grow your business and staff.
Set a long-term goal. The first step in growing your business begins with setting a long-term goal. Where do you want to be in five years? How many clients would you like to have, and what type of clients? The answer to those questions isn’t likely to change. Your path, on the other hand, will change on a daily basis. Stay laser focused on your long-term goal, but don’t forget to embrace the changes thrown your way. Adopting a flexible attitude will allow you to determine the best route for your company’s success.
Develop great leaders. Every office should have strong, dependable leaders of various calibers. Choose special people who you respect and help them become great leaders. Give them the support and tools to lead specific functions or areas of the business. Leading rapid growth on your own can lead to exhaustion, hair loss and extreme stress. I, like many women in the workplace, hate asking for help, but I do it every day. In return, when one of those tough-as-nails leaders comes into my office, slumps on my couch and says, “I need you to help me think about something,” I realize how far we’ve come. By placing trust and confidence in other members of your team to take on leadership roles, you get that trust right back. You are setting your company up for growth and success.
Embrace transparency. It’s no secret, leading and managing fast growth is hard work and comes with many ups and downs. Be honest and open with your team about your progress, challenges and opportunities. Whether the news is good or bad, they will appreciate and respect you for being upfront and open. I’ve found that an informed team is more connected to the company, which leads to higher productivity and increased engagement. This is especially true for Generation Y employees. Millennials need to know what is going on, but they also need proof that their input matters, to feel they can trust and believe in their company.
Growing a business is hard work, but it is possible with the right tools and staff. What other tips do you have for growing a business?