Many companies I consult with are small businesses. One Client is the president of a small firm that is growing rapidly, expanding from two people when we began our work, to likely six or more in the coming months. The stage this business is in, is one that frequently makes or breaks the future of a company.
It’s a stage where a business has to grow up.*
In a small one-or-two person company, it can be easy to keep track of customers and projects by relying on your memory and yelling across the room to each other, to produce results. With five or six people, maybe you can get away with this still. At some point, as your company grows, it doesn’t work anymore.
When your company is small, you can wing it. You can scramble and produce results at the last minute: maybe not complete results, maybe not the greatest results, perhaps with excuses about things that didn’t get produced, but perhaps a sufficient amount of results to keep the doors open and the lights on. If your small business doesn’t grow up, your company gets stuck, as if it has a foot nailed to the floor.
What I mean by growing up is:
Inventing systems and structures, etc.
And implementing them,
keeping them implemented,
keeping track of them,
quickly correcting them, when problems show up.
And updating them as the company continues to grow.
Structures, systems, policies and procedures act like a road map: they provide direction, they show how to get back on track when things go off course, they make things explicit, they illuminate the game.
Obviously, the above aren’t rocket-science notions. We all nod, and say “of course.” We’re all really smart and can hear the intelligence of doing so.
And, over and over, I see it not being done!
I frequently see:
Systems that are missing.
Re-work happening two and three times.
People doing inconsistent and incomplete work.
Problems in communication—between the company and its customers and vendors and with internal communication in the company itself.
Workflows held together with baling wire and duct tape.
Does this happen because people are stupid? No.
Because they’re deliberate saboteurs? No.
Because they aren’t able to do anything about it? No.
People simply get stuck sometimes, when they don’t know what else to do!
When you’re fed up with the problems…
When you’re tired of losing money, or not capturing the profit that should be happening…
When you’ve lost tolerance for excuses and broken promises…
Catalyst can help. Let’s talk.
*Entrepreneurs are often rebels. “I don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” (Or procedures, or policies.) The best policies and procedures AREN’T rules and regulations, rather, they’re GUIDELINES. They show the best and smartest way that’s been created so far. They increase the likelihood of quality, service, and profit. And, many policies are best NOT written in stone.