Everybody wants business growth.
Regardless of what business they are in, everybody wants it.
But to create growth, you have to manage the business appropriately. And there-in lies the rub!
Most business owners recognize that they have to manage their people well. Few business owners realize that they have to manage the business as a separate entity.
Last year I was brought in to two companies that had some similarities (multiple-millions of annual revenues, multiple departments with individual managers, rapid growth) and on the surface, looked like they had completely different problems! One company wanted me to help them scale and build out a franchise-style model to launch other locations, the other asked me to come in as an Interim sales manager & build out the sales structures.
But as I started to break things down, I realized that these two businesses were actually dealing with the same problem: Improper management of the BUSINESS structures!
One of the two was close to the breaking point. As I met with the individual managers one by one to find out what we needed to do to duplicate their departments to launch multiple locations, each meeting started the same way:
A hushed whisper from the manager asking if I could please keep a secret, but that they couldn’t do this. That they were so close to their breaking point and on the verge of quitting because of the stress and that there was no way they could focus on how to duplicate their department.
It was sobering!
The other organization also revealed stress fractures where failure to communicate needs and expectations led to the same document being created five or six times and so much re-work done that it was destroying everyone’s growth motivation.
The struggle that both companies had, at their core, was that both businesses were being allowed to run themselves. Either they had a great product or great customer service or something that caused them to grow rapidly, but then no-one was managing things or organizing things and everything just began to fall apart.
It’s common across the board, and the fix is easy: Directed focus, and structured information flow.
The business will always reflect the business owner. If the business owner is splitting his/her focus, so will the business itself!
Start by figuring out what is diverting your energy and focus. What is pulling at your attention that doesn’t really need your attention or can be assigned to someone else to handle. In order to add “managing my business” to your plate, you’re going to need to find items to take off your plate. Because if you’re like most business owners, you’re already maxed out! You don’t have room to add another task to your plate, much less one that you half-ass because you’re too busy!
So find the items to take off your plate, but before you start trying to assign them to someone else to handle willy-nilly...let’s do this right!
Start with a Responsibility Description.
No, it’s not the job description.
Job Descriptions are often a full page worth of tasks and assignments that someone is responsible for.
The Responsibility Description is (up to) three sentences that list out a high-level overview of what that individual takes responsibility for at the end of the day.
For example, if you have a marketing director then you need to create three items for which the marketing director is responsible. Examples, rather than “ensure the website is always up” could be something to the effect of “Ensure marketing is efficient and effective. Ensure marketing strategies are developed that adjust and compensate for shifts and changes with the times. Ensure all marketing touches match Company Brand.” Obviously, there are a wide range of activities that could fall under those categories!
Those three things become the Marketing Director’s primary priorities, and you don’t have the marketing director trying to fix a product or figure out where the next great product is coming from.
As a business owner, you may sit in three seats, each with three responsibilities. But I usually draw the line at