“In my experience, you still use the vision and capability of the entrepreneur to drive the business – but you give them far more capacity within their business to achieve the vision.”
Entrepreneurs that are used to leading the business as an SME often struggle to grow the business any larger because, while they are very capable people, the limits of their capability define the limits of their business. There are often insufficient management structures and processes in place to help the business get to the next level.
SME business leaders can be a victim of their own success because one person can only do so much. As a COO, I was able to help leaders put the structure and processes in place to double the size of their businesses and ensure they keep on growing.
The secrets to growth
In my experience, you still use the vision and capability of the entrepreneur to drive the business – but you give them far more capacity within their business to achieve the vision.
I focus on the right things for each business, but this generally consists of three main things:
– IT systems
Cloud based systems developed in an agile way
– Management layers
Clear role definitions and robust processes
– Growth strategy
Helping the leader see outside their own knowledge areas and apply their insights to a broader market using data and analytics.
The speed of change
When a business moves from small to mid size business they need to change. The speed of implementation needs to be led by the appetite within the business.
Some are more keen than others to make changes – you need to find the open doors, the enthusiasts. Bit by bit, we are able to change things – but this happens over time, not overnight.
Can leaders and executives lead the change alone?
When people talk about training, they are often thinking about classroom learning. But if you think of skills transfer, training is only part of that mix.
Demonstrating how work gets done, and passing on those skills, is more important for leaders in order to release capacity and have confidence in others to run the business.
The value of coaching
In high-pressure roles, people need a coach. They may not understand it when they first meet a coach, but it can be the most valuable thing in your career: someone to talk to and reflect with about your own management style and approach to work, and someone to help identify the things that are holding you back.
I found the experience of being coached so compelling that I decided to train as an executive coach myself. I can now pass these experiences on to other people.