Is your business stuck in one place or, worse, sliding backwards? Like humans, businesses have stages of development. Each stage presents particular challenges and opportunities. How you navigate these critical transition points will determine your business success and your personal satisfaction.
Brad was eager to grow his firm. He envisioned an ever-expanding professional services business at the top of its field. Brad boosted the marketing with an active radio and print campaign. He also advertised for and hired more staff to handle the workload.
After a few years, his expansion became a nightmare. Client work backed up. Many of his recent hires didn’t have the talent that he and his founding partner enjoyed. It wasn’t satisfying for him to correct other people’s errors and fret about poor quality.
What happened? Brad tried to grow by simply doing more of what he was doing—adding more clients and adding more staff. He didn’t develop the systems for recruitment and managing the work that his firm needed to support the next stage of growth.
The prescription for Brad’s firm to break through the bottleneck is one that many firms can follow.
- Hire the best for your core.
Identify the key roles in your business. Use a recruitment process that will attract and select the best people to fill them.
In order to manage his 25-person firm, Brad needed four very highly qualified people. Each needed an expert level of knowledge and the ability to motivate and supervise other team members.
Brad’s firm had followed standard recruitment procedures. The problem is that these average recruitment efforts yielded only average candidates.
For the critical hires, the firm had to do better. It refined its quality standards and upgraded the opportunities and rewards for the top positions. Then, the firm members networked with the best people in the field to find prospects who weren’t looking for jobs and used skill and style assessments to choose superior players. Higher quality colleagues also rekindled Brad’s enjoyment of the business.
- Leverage the rest to produce more.
Get the most benefit from your top performers with mid-level professionals and administrative staff to support them. Think of your firm as a pyramid of talent.
Brad’s pyramid had become wobbly. It had too many average performers in the middle. The firm trimmed average players and boosted its standards.
- Use systems to be your best and score.
Finally, implement quality systems that enable new hires to quickly learn and apply best practices. These systems become business assets for your next stage of growth.
Brad’s leaner, more capable team committed time to document best practices. They scanned how other firms handled similar work, secured software programs for standard procedures, and added their own elements of distinctive value. These translated into quality checklists and procedures everyone could follow. Instead of worrying about whether junior people were making mistakes on individual projects, the senior team tracked the quality systems.
Recognize the stages of growth for your business. Business, as usual, won’t get you to the next level. Develop the standards, strategies, and systems that will enhance your business’ value and your enjoyment of it.