Small-scale thinking can lead to small-scale results. Your main apprehension as the ship’s captain shouldn’t be whether your crew will feel comfortable with your rate of growth; but if it is a chief concern, you're probably not thinking like the CEO you need to be.
“Many entrepreneurs believe that their businesses will grow organically, and that the necessary resources can simply be added to match demand. This is a misconception,” says Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
“Once a business has grown to a certain size, the owner must consciously choose to scale up rather than simply reacting to a growing market share.”
Related: 3 Situations where scaling your business isn’t an option
When it comes to hiring-forward and taking an aggressive approach to growth in your business, Allison Maslan CEO and founder of Pinnacle Global Business Coaching and Mastermind Program says: “If you’re only doing things that are a little bit scary, you’re only going to have a small bit of growth.”
Here are a few ways you can prepare your most valuable resources – your human capital asset base – for the growth of the business:
1. Hire in anticipation of scaling-up
In 2011, Facebook’s commanders noticed it was growing at a rapid rate. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that the company was set to hire thousands of employees to keep up with the number of new users signing up for the social network, starting with engineers in New York City.
“We are trying to grow at a rate that will allow us to get the very best people and integrate them,” Sandberg said about the growth in staff. “We will be adding thousands of employees in the next year.”
The lesson here? If you’re planning on expanding, don’t wait until you’ve grown to your desired market share before hiring people. Get new team members in sooner so you’re ready for the growth when it happens. That being said, this requires good business forecasting, so spending time anticipating demand for managers or executioners will help you set the building blocks for growth in place.
2. Future-forward planning
“Forward planning and measures – from anticipated turnover and management structure, number of jobs that can potentially be created and improving business processes – will need to be addressed in order to achieve the business results needed to run and maintain a larger scale business,” says Botes.
A large part of this entails hiring employees with a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one. According to Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, individuals who believe their talents can be developed through good strategies, capitalising on setbacks and collaborative effort with others have a growth mindset.
“When entire companies embrace a growth mindset, their employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also receive far greater organisational support for collaboration and innovation,” Dweck adds.
Scaling successfully requires the ability to think ahead and hire and retain skilled, driven employees to help carry out your immediate and future goals.
Related: Miles Khubeka on scaling on a small budget
3. Align your processes with growth goals
According to Jana Matthews, founder and CEO of Boulder Quantum Ventures, there are three fundamental sets of processes that shape a growth-oriented infrastructure:
- You need processes for managing and leading people.
- You need processes for management and control.
- You need processes for planning and alignment of goals.
“Many entrepreneurs are reluctant to develop processes, thinking the organisation won't make it unless they stay in charge and make all the decisions,” says Matthews. “But the truth is, without policies and procedures, growth becomes much harder to achieve. If you want to grow, you have to stop doing everything yourself.”
In her book,Lessons from the Edge, Matthews quotes an entrepreneur who explains, from personal experience, why the best business results come from a combination of good processes. “One of the lessons I've learned is that we need to have a company manual and an operations manual. You have to have things written down. We have also developed some systems to track goals and assess productivity.”
Scaling your company requires strategic thinking, and that can only be achieved by getting your employees on board, from the recruitment phase right up to daily operations. Don’t delay your hiring plan and react to the growth you’re aiming for when you could have anticipated the needs beforehand.
- Like Facebook did in 2011, plan your growth goals by incorporating more staff before you need them, in anticipation for growing the company.
- While planning ahead, remember that to achieve the business results needed to run and maintain a larger scale business, turnover and management structure must be projected.
- Without policies and procedures, growth becomes much harder to achieve. If you want to grow, you have to stop doing everything yourself.