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The Business Northumberland blog

So, you have plans to grow the business. You've got a Business Plan to take you through the growth phase and you've discussed finances. You're set to go – or are you?

The organisation of your business is important too. It is the platform on which the business itself grows. Getting the organisation right is not the most exciting part of business development, but ignoring will probably cost you time and money in the long run.

Most business growth involves taking staff on, either for the first time or adding to what is already there. Introducing more people changes the dynamic and brings in new influences. If the culture and management practices are not solidly in place these changes can cause havoc and undermine performance. But, you are still the boss, so what do you want the business to look like in the outside world – the values and culture of it?

Thinking about the team, are there defined job roles and the skills needed to do the jobs? It is too simple to say 'more (staff) of the same'. It might be true that more are needed, but is that all the larger business needs to work effectively? People often overlook the basics, like admin. Everyone hates it – well not everyone actually! There are people who really enjoy it. Imagine a world where all that paperwork was off the desk and in a place where it can be found straight away. An investment in admin staff would mean there is an employee answering enquiries, managing the diary, remembering to do those things you always forget… Leaving you more time to run the business. Worth a thought, isn't it?

What about the talent that is already there? Many employees have more skills and capabilities than those they were employed to do. It's a good idea to ask, if you don't already know – perhaps they would welcome a change. It is often quite motivating to use a skill that's been dormant for a while. Think about the added value – that person/people know your business so there's built in continuity during the growth stage. Bringing them in to a new role allows for 'more of the same' in the original role.

That brings us back to defined roles. Is there an organisation map or structure chart? Having one is a good way of looking at the skills needed for the business and plotting which are already there against that map – the gap analysis. It is important not to let the people get in the way. You are looking purely at what the business need. The people can be put into the business in the right roles once you know what those roles are. It is almost impossible to put the business into the people!

Staying true to your vision depends directly on your leadership.
"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." Father Theodore M. Hesburgh.

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