Are you thinking of scaling up your business?
Maybe your business is growing faster than you can manage alone – orders are pouring in; you’re booked out for several months ahead; there’s even a waitlist for prospects who want to work with you…
Or, maybe you’d like to offer a broader range of services to your clients and building a team seems your best bet for achieving that.
Whatever your reason is, the growth phase is an exciting time for your business.
But besides being motivated by the prospects and rewards of expansion, it’s probably already obvious that your current business model has outlived its usefulness and it’s time to scale.
How do you proceed?
Actually, the question we should be asking is, “how should you NOT proceed?”
That’s because a lot of business owners I meet are so concerned about checking off the items on their long to-do list, that they hardly give thought to a potentially costly mistake they need to avoid, which is:
Forgetting your role as a leader
If you’ve been a solopreneur for any length of time, chances are, you’ve worn many hats in your business. You’ve been the visionary-strategist-planner. You’ve also been the task-doer or implementer, executing anything from marketing plans to admin tasks like email management and bookkeeping. You’ve been the “Jane” of all trades.
When you decide to bring others on board, there’s always the temptation to continue being the all-in-one and not approach things as a leader. In fact, I find that most business owners at this stage of growth are not clear on their role as leaders. As a result, they’re also not clear on the role that their team members will play.
But I find even more worrisome the fact that their objectives and processes are not clearly defined, which negatively impacts the overall productivity of the team.
How can you avoid this?
By setting the goals, the path, the expectations and the pace for achieving your business objectives.
There are 3 ways to do that.
- Set a communication flow –
Define the process of how you communicate with your team. Get clear on what needs to be communicated and how and where that information needs to be shared. For example, if you use a project management tool, all the communication around project tasks need to go in that project management tool – like Asana or Trello, for instance.
If you have other types of conversation that need to happen (like brainstorming ideas or status check-ins and updates, pick another platform, say Slack or Voxer. This is especially useful when there’s an emergency or something that needs to happen quickly. Whichever platform you prefer, it’s important to choose one and stick with it.
That way, you avoid discussing one topic across several platforms and then losing track of the conversation when you try to piece it together or reference it in the future.
Once you’ve made your choices, go above and beyond that to create a standard operating procedure that outlines:
- Where to have the conversation about tasks
- Where to have a conversation if there is something urgent
- Where to have general team communication
This ensures every member of your team is on the same page and knows what’s expected of them.
2. Make videos or screenshots –
Effective communication with your team is key to affirming your role as a leader. Why?
Most people aren’t going to “just get you” or know what you mean; so, it’s important to have things laid out in a format that helps them understand easily. Something like a video, for example. Or a screenshot or other visual aid.
Turn that into a standard operating procedure, if it’s a process you repeat regularly so that both new and old team members can consult it when they need to.
3. Make your team part of your why –
Do not fail to carry your team along on the journey, so they know they’re part of something meaningful. The last thing you want is for your team members to feel they’re in a dead-end job or that they’re not making a difference. So, let them know your big vision – your goals, the results you’re trying to achieve and where they fit into it. Be clear on what you expect from them so they can fulfill them.
Of course, it goes without saying that you have to be clear on it yourself first, before you can communicate it to your team.
Telling them where they fit in also means you have to hold them accountable. If you set the expectation and they don’t meet it, you need to have a conversation about that.
That way, they understand that the expectation was set and it’s their responsibility to meet it.
Prepare for success
No matter where you are along the hiring process, whether you’re a CEO, COO, OBM or something else, stepping into your leadership role is important.
And this applies whether it’s your first hire or your 99th.
But how do you know for sure you’re ready to build a team? What systems must you have in place before you contemplate scaling your business?
You’ll get the answers when you take the quiz, “Is Your Business Prepared To Build A Productive Team?
In this quiz, I, not only help you find clarity but also, walk you through your first steps of the team building journey.
Scaling your business with success is easier when you step into your leadership role. Start by deciding what to communicate to your team and how you interface with them. Make them a part of your vision and let them know what you expect from them.
Leave nothing to chance.
When you do, you’ll have a workflow that’s fluid, functional and effective.
And the best part? Scaling becomes much more effortless and you’ll be winning like the boss lady that you already are.