When an entrepreneur mentions scaling up their business, it not only relates to volumes and numerical growth but rather the growth of each individual in the organisation as well. Different organisations experience different challenges when they scale up. Every business has its specific ups and downs, though it depends on the entrepreneur on how they manage to effectively achieve the required goal.
Three constant phases
There are three phases to any business: when business is at its peak; when it is not doing well; and, when growth is constant. In any scenario, how one balances time, people and the goals will determine the success of a business venture. It is crucial to anticipate problems that could occur during a growth period and plan for them in advance. Most entrepreneurs struggle to identify opportunities that can help their businesses grow further. This is mainly due to the fact that entrepreneurs, especially those who run micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), often juggle with multiple responsibilities at a time. What would be helpful is that entrepreneurs take some time out, plan out their businesses strategies and invest time and resources to help build a strong second line of management. A lack of planning and forecasting could have a spillover effect in terms of disengagement with the teams, customers, stakeholders, etc. Although business growth is dependent on external factors as well, being prepared can prove to be immensely beneficial.
We very briefly touched upon the area of talent management. A lot of family-run SME businesses have employees working for a very long time in them. As businesses evolve, so do structures, and there could be a situation wherein employees may resist changes. In such cases, entrepreneurs must deal with a firm hand. One can set an example by doing the job oneself. Automatically, in most cases, others will tend to follow. It is true that those who have stuck with the organisation for a longer period have the experience that counts. However, the “boss” needs to extract the same out of them.
Most common problems stem from an inadequate delegation of tasks. Many times, entrepreneurs believe that work can be done best by themselves, due to which they are reluctant to pass on responsibilities to other team members. This is something that all entrepreneurs must consciously avoid. The delegation of work is a must if an entrepreneur is looking at holistic growth. Not only does the delegation of work help the owner of the company keep the larger company affairs in place, but also handing responsibilities can boost employee morale, as they feel to be a part of the decision-making process. Effective delegation can also lead to a significant boost in motivation, performance and loyalty.
One idea that an entrepreneur should try to implement for sure is the concept of kaizen.It is a Japanese term for continuous improvement. This is something I personally adhere to every single day. Learning from members of peer-to-peer platforms, attending conferences and interacting with like-minded entrepreneurs are all opportunities for entrepreneurs to constantly improve and update themselves. When entrepreneurs interact with similar-minded entrepreneurs, the options of learning and development are umpteen. For entrepreneurs, learning is best when it is in the form of healthy experiential discussions in the trusted environment. It is based on these discussions that they can identify solutions to their problems and ideate how they can apply their methods and techniques for working in their organisation and there can be an improvement. Such discussions, be it on professional or personal aspects, are what entrepreneurs build lifelong bonds and associations on.
With motivation, it is important that entrepreneurs acknowledge and reward their employers. For an entrepreneur, their team is their strength. Recognising employees for their efforts is something a business at any scale must do. It is very important that those who work for you are satisfied and see themselves growing along with you. Dedicate a system of yearly awards for those who have performed in any small way. These rewards can also be given to your loyal customers for standing by your company every year. They are the workforce that makes sure that your company runs well. These activities make them feel included which in turn will reflect in their work. Small-business operators whether it’s the boss or the employee, both need to stick together because they can create a virtuous cycle. By acting as a support system in the different areas of your business and keeping your employees informed, there can be a smooth scale up.
While on the journey of scaling-up, being active on peer-to-peer networking platforms helps. These networks act like a sounding board with no expectations in return, especially for the entrepreneurs who are ready to jump on the growth train. Entrepreneurs have a chance to interact with many like-minded individuals who might share the same experience, opinions and ambitions in their entrepreneurial journey. This sharing helps in setting standards and creating an understanding of the kind of strategies that can be applied in specific situations. At a closer look, the nature of other entrepreneurs’ challenges may vary, but when they come together peer to peer in a trusted environment, entrepreneurs find their way to scale beyond the challenges.
As young women entrepreneurs, it is important to remember that even in male-dominated industries, you need to create your own space if you cannot find it. With a positive attitude as an entrepreneur and a leader, you can shake the world!