Have you ever pulled at a thread on a jumper and found that it created a small hole, pulled a little bit more and found that the hole had grown a bit and then after quite some time and effort and lots of vigorous pulling that you are left with more hole than jumper?
This happens to businesses too.
Over our years of experience seeing how businesses grow, mature and sadly sometimes fail, we have seen many hardworking entrepreneurs pulling very hard to make their business a success, only to find that the tiny holes in their systems become bigger holes as they grow and sometimes end as gigantic chasms in the internal workings of their company.
At the inception of a business there are so many areas to address and questions to answer:
and, perhaps most importantly
Your time is taken up with resolving these problems and in the beginning you can make a fair job of it... and then you start to develop.
Once a customer has been converted and you have done a job or two for them and been paid and you have done this a few times (keeping all of the various pieces of information required to do a great job, in your head) you take on a member of staff.
This is the first thread that you have an opportunity to pull.
Usually, for the first few weeks or months, you will be very happy with the performance of your new employee. Now look! This person has a personality of their own, they understand their job and do it really well... and it impacts on other areas of the business that are not their worry.
You can ignore these individual behaviours because after all, everyone is doing the job they are employed to do, aren't they? Ask them to do more of the same, pull at the thread. This is when the holes start to become visible.
And each time you scale up, you scale up everything, not just what makes your business great, but all the holes as well.
The type of holes that begin to appear can include (this is by no means an exclusive list)
Your customer asks for a “can you just” that does not get recorded and, heavens forefend, is not charged!
In order to deliver a “perfect” service your technician spends Company money on additional resources that fall outside of your (perhaps unspecified) budget
Oh boy is your credit controller good at getting customers to pay! Unfortunately lack of soft skills is destroying the relationships that you have spent lots of time building up
Consider the impact each of these holes makes to your profitability.
By identifying the damage that can be done by each individual staff member, to the effectiveness of others in the business, you can take steps to develop procedures that automatically repair the tiny holes in your system.
Ensuring that your new member of staff can replicate your activities perfectly is the key. Communicating your Company ethos and personality and ensuring all members of your team reflect it at all times will help to overcome these problems. Better still it will avoid them in the first place.
Training and coaching your staff towards an understanding of the part they play in the entire organisation will go a long way towards repairing these holes and will be the subject of our next article.
And like your granny told you
“Don’t pull the thread: darn the hole now and your jumper will last”
If you would like to find out how our expertise can help you darn your jumper before the holes become too big, please call today and we’ll be delighted to arrange a free review.