The growing pains of business
Let’s talk about Mike. Mike, for us, represents those hard-working business owners who started their company from scratch, battled through the ups and downs and achieved success in the eyes of their friends and family.
If you’re currently running a growing business, you’ll no doubt recognise some or all of Mike’s experiences.
Mike used to be an employee of a large organisation. Like many people, he thought he could do a better job on his own. But, unlike many people, he had the courage to take the plunge and start his own business. What he dreamt of was to have the money and the lifestyle to create his own freedom.
In the early days, Mike did whatever he had to do to grow his business. There wasn’t much money available but through a lot of hard work he won some very happy customers. The business grew. After a while, Mike had to take on staff as he couldn’t do everything on his own. He didn’t really know how to manage them but he made it up as he went along. But the business still thrived.
If you fast forward a few years, there’s no doubt that Mike’s business is a healthy one. However, he has the money but he doesn’t have the time. He works all hours and his family hardly see him. He is now what his friends and family would deem a ‘successful businessman’ but Mike feels trapped. He has a team of people working for him yet he’s still stuck in his office late every night.
Such are the growing pains of an expanding business.
Mike’s situation could have been predicted and it certainly isn’t unique. Whilst the economy has gone through a significant recession in the last few years, small businesses up and down the country have been quietly keeping people in jobs. But business owners like Mike are struggling to achieve the freedom that they dreamt of when they first started up. The problem is not about a lack of money or opportunity, it’s something else.
All businesses go through a similar growth pattern – just as we all grow from babies into adults, most businesses grow from start-ups into mature companies. Mike’s business went through the first few growth stages quite quickly. As his business grew, he took on employees, working out along the way how to manage them.
But progressing through the mid stages of growth can be akin to a brick wall to most small businesses. On the other side of that wall lies an organisation that supports more employees, generates more wealth and gives the owner more freedom. But how do you get there?
To not only see over, but also move to, the other side of the brick wall, Mike needed to change how he managed his business. That’s easier said than done, of course. It involves taking a risk and, when you change a situation, performance can decline initially. It’s at this point that a lot of people give up, preferring to stay on their side of the wall – it looks a lot safer.
Here you have the entrepreneur’s dilemma: what made you successful up to now is exactly what will hold you back going forward.
It is possible to scale that wall, though.
By structuring his business to cope with future challenges not past performance, Mike made his company significantly more valuable. And, equally importantly, he was able to attain the freedom he’d always wanted.
Scaling that wall and doing things differently is undoubtedly a difficult transition. But by working with the right team and taking sound advice from people who’ve helped others get over that wall, like Mike, you too can make the transition as painless as possible.
At Leaders Lab, we can help people just like Mike. He had a difficult but surmountable challenge – take a risk and reach for the prize or stay as he was and ride out the ups and downs.
Contact us today and take the first steps to scale that wall facing your business.