EXPANDING YOUR BUSINESS

EXPANDING YOUR BUSINESS

It can be tough being a business owner. Inevitably you need to be someone else’s mentor, manager, human resources expert… the list goes on and on. And personal growth can get lost along the way…

Finding the time to focus on yourself will probably involve letting go of some of the decision making in your business. Business owners often feel the need to double-check decisions and ‘own’ every product or project going out. Personal experience starting and running Avocado Vision has taught me that this is a very difficult to maintain over the long haul. And this mind-set often results in the opposite of what you are trying to achieve by alienating employees and creating a bottleneck around decision making. And the risk is that your own stagnation can set in.

What would your next move be then as you look to grow in such a way that you are able to support your business by finding new clients, new business, new strategies and all those other ‘new’ things that lead to expansion? New people and new ideas provide the answer. They can be found through multiple sources, books, networking sessions, courses etc. the point being that you explore new ways of doing or looking at things.

Much like a child, as your business grows it has different needs based on where it is in its development. A new launch requires constant nurturing and attention. It requires flexibility in terms of how you handle product development, pricing and client interactions. Once it hits its stride, it will still require a lot of your time, but you will be more comfortable with what is expected. You know the routine; your clients understand your services…

Now before you settle in and get too comfortable, you should start looking at ways to improve your business. Ways to grow the venture and ensure its viability in the long run. You have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, and a new perspective and new ideas can still be built into the bedrock of the growing organisation.

Many business owners choose to wander off and enrol at their nearest business school at this stage, only to find that the hardest thing is not the course work, it’s the course load! My advice? Don’t run for the hills, stick it out, take the time away from the business and invest in yourself and your company’s future.

MAKING THE TIME

The best way to grow as a person and as a business owner, is to invest in training every time. So how then do you make the time?

Good people: Surround yourself with strong, knowledgeable, capable people. People willing to own a problem and work it to resolution. In many large corporate environments the person doing the hiring won’t necessarily hire the strongest candidate for fear that the candidate will outgrow them at some point. When you have your own business, it really should work the other way around. Look for the strongest, most committed, most knowledgeable people you can lay your hands on, and take advantage of their commitment (in the best possible way of course). The only way you can trust people to fill in for you when you aren’t around is by ensuring you have the right people.

Education: You need to invest in the growth of these good people too. Every single person on your payroll should have a growth or development plan built around what you require from them in the future, so that you can being to allocate responsibility to them. Experience is vital, but so is the knowledge that will enable them to make informed choices about your business. The better informed they are, the less they will need to escalate their challenges to you.

Trust: Such a small word but a momentous item on our list. Trust isn’t earned overnight. It comes from allowing your team to make decisions and learn from them. Until you let them make their own decisions and live by the consequences of those decisions, they won’t have the experience that you need them to have.

Delegation: The business owners we work with at Avo generally have a hard time delegating. The phrase “it’s easier to do it myself because I know it’s done right” echoes through the corridors. True you can’t delegate if you don’t trust, but at some point that leap of faith has to occur. A willingness to loosen the reigns just a smidgen and delegate work to people has to come from you as the business owner. Expect the occasional problem and that things won’t go your way every time. But also expect to learn from your team as you progress.

Reference:

Juliet Newton – Founder of Avocado Vision (Your Business – Volume 19 No 6)