There are three common barriers that stand in the way of entrepreneurs growing their businesses:
- Middle managers don't receive the leadership training they need to effectively guide people.
Mid-size businesses aren't as efficient at generating revenue as larger businesses.
- Not enough marketing happens to acquire new customers.
The first barrier to scaling is growing the people.
Most senior managers have gone through leadership skills training.
But it is the mid-level managers who carry the weight of an organization on their backs working with team members to get the job done.
Lack of leadership skills at all levels in the organization can stymie growth.
My favorite leadership approach is the Situational Leadership® Model.
It is powerful, yet flexible tool that enables leaders of all kinds to more effectively influence others.
This model was famously the heart of the classic book,
Leadership and the One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard.
This is the model that we use when working with CEOs and leaders to build their leadership skills.
The second barrier to scaling is process.
Are you creating a scalable infrastructure?
Are the everyday actions everyone's taking today be multiplied and performed efficiently as your business grows?
Larger companies are two-and-a-half times more efficient at generating revenue. Smaller businesses think they are lean and more efficient. But the opposite is actually true.
Why? Large companies have the processes.
Another challenge, whether you have 10 employees or 10,000, is to get them on the same page and heading in the same direction to achieve goals.
Everyone sets goals, in some form or another. But goals are worthless if there isn't change infused into actions taken everyday to move the needle forward.
Change is required to make growth happen.
A tool that a business owner can use to establish a routine of growth-oriented actions is a two-page strategic plan. This visual tool is simple in form and keeps everyone focused on taking the right actions to grow.
The two-page strategic plan is everyone's growth calendar. If you want a template of the plan email me.
Another tool is the "lean" Toyota methodology.
A mid-size company can potentially double its revenue with the same number of people they have today if they get themselves organized, eliminate waste in the organization, and make the best use of limited resources.
An excellent read about this topic is The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development,
by Jeffrey K. Liker and Gary L. Convis.
The third barrier to scaling is marketing.
Peter Drucker said, "The purpose of marketing is to create a customer."
Marketing strategies move over time. Currently, digital media strategies are hot (webcasts, video, social network sites, podcasts, etc). A mix of traditional (face-to-face, sales tear sheets, trade shows, etc) and digital media need to be part of your marketing arsenal.
Automate marketing as much as feasible and measure marketing ROI.
An important number to know is the Cost of Client Acquisition.
The quick and easy way to ballpark this number is to divide
total marketing costs by number of customers served.
BOTTOM LINE: How to Overcome Growth Barriers
- Develop the leadership skills of your middle managers
- Establish processes, eliminate waste, follow a two-page strategic plan
- Market to increase awareness and acquire clients using digital and traditional media
Would you like to increase your managers' leadership skills utilizing the Situational Leadership® Model or develop a two-page strategic plan so that everyone is on the same page doing the right things to grow? Feel free to reach out to me.
Best of success,