Welcome to 2018!
So whilst we are in January & everyone is pumped up & excited for the new year, I thought it would be a good way to kick off the new year with a discussion around why so many businesses fail to grow — Specifically to reach their first 5 then 12 staff.
So why 5 & 12? Why did I pick these numbers specifically?
If you look at the cycles of business, there are several predictable phases that entrepreneurs & their businesses go through.
As a solo operator, typically you’re doing everything. Frustrating place to be & where most people get stuck.
As you start to build out your first 5 staff, it’s usually very reactive. Meaning, you’re putting people in to “get shit done”, as opposed to that staffing being part of a strategic long term plan. Basically, you do what you have to do to get a higher volume of activity happening.
Between 5–12 staff, you generally start to duplicate roles. You might need a second & third Business Development Manager, or a second administration person etc. This then changes the dynamics of the business as you start to need systems for duplication, & people that can help you with this duplication.
Then there’s 12 staff. That’s the typical number where the dynamics change again. This is where you now need to really think through the “organisation”. You need managers and/or chiefs in place to handle all the people in the organisation. This means recruiting people who may be above orginal founding members in the chain, this is where personalities come in & things can go sideways.
Jane stole Amy’s stapler. George slept with Amy. Things of that nature.
Original staff may now start to resent new people & the direction of the business. 12–25 staff is where the filtering happens. By 25, you might find you’re the only original member left.
Of course I’m generalising, this isn’t always the case. But you get the drift, the dynamics definitely change as you start to focus on “organisation”.
Getting above that 25 mark is a sweet spot. But most businesses don’t make it above just a few. So if you are in this bracket of micro business, the question is — How to reach 5, then 12?
Your first 5 — There’s a few ways to go here:
- Focus on leveraging yourself. Give away as much of the low value, menial activity as possible so you can focus on bringing in more business.
Instead of assuming your first step is to hire a sales person, marketing staff or business development manager, consider that maybe you’re the best bet on this. It might be the case that you more enjoy the functional “doing” work instead of growing the business. But consider, what’s actually best for the business? Whats the most leveraged way I can most easily move forward? You may end up doing work you don’t most enjoy. But hey, you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not all going to be rainbows & unicorns.
2. If you do identify that the best next step is to hire someone to help with the growth of the business, consider that this person will, & should be a business partner, someone you will grow with. if you’re not willing to consider that, I’d suggest either not growing your business & staying small, or focus on my step 1.
Regardless of which way you go, the process of figuring it out is the same. The best thing you can do is deconstruct, decode, or as I call it “unpack” your business. I’ve created a video & exercise with templates to make this process super easy for you. If you are in that under 5 bracket especially, spend 20 minutes watch this video at http://www.ezyva.com/unpacking/.
This process the becomes a habit in your business. if you are constantly evaluating the work of you & your key players, giving away the lowest value activities & freeing up time to focus on the highest value, you’ll have happy people & a scalable business. Think about it, if at every step you helped yourself & your key people by getting assistance or support so that you can focus on nothing but the highest value activities, you don’t have people bogged down in doing shit work they don’t want to do.
This is where virtual assistants (done right) can be a super powerful tool for businesses under 12 staff (especially under 5) to move up to that next level as I’ve described before.
Anyway, do check out the exercise, the templates that go with it & they are sure to help you in your mission to scale.
I wish you all the best in 2018. Happy scaling!