I have made a lot of mistakes and learned hard lessons when I was scaling my business. Looking back, there were things that I did and even more that I wish I didn’t do that would have made the scaling up process smoother and faster. That’s what I want to share with you right now. Well at least a glimpse into some of that.
Starting a business is easy. Some people may even say “they got lucky”, started a business out of the blue, and now it’s surviving. Scaling a business however is a very different story and I believe luck has very little to do with it, it’s about strategy, passion and strong vision.
Daily Planning, strategising, and having the right people by your side is key to a successful scale-up.
Here are some tips in choosing the right team members so your business can go from surviving to thriving.
Before I dive in to the tips, know that choosing the right people from the very start is critical because they will be the ones to help you grow and represent the brand of “you”. When you’re a start-up, you will be wearing different hats. One day you’re a salesperson, the next day you could be an accountant so choosing a team that will complement you and your hat collection is crucial.
- Know what you need – Like I said, you will be wearing different hats when you’re a start-up but there are things that you will not be able to do efficiently. You have to be honest with yourself and determine where you need help the most. It is also wise to focus your time and effort on activities that will help your business grow like meeting clients and closing deals, put a real value on your time. This is the biggest pitfall I see in business owners.
- Choose attitude over aptitude – I read this somewhere online and it spoke to me well. It is normal to look for highly qualified people in terms of credentials however, without the right attitude, that person will become a liability rather than an asset. Culture is King.
During the interview, see if you will get along well. Ask questions and follow up questions in order to dig deeper. Take your time to know why he/she is interested in the role and why he/she has left or is leaving their current job. Ask for personal references and call them.
It is better to take your time during the hiring process, slow this down and be fussy rather than realize later on that you hired the wrong person. By then, you will have invested time and money and the opportunity cost of what they missed is hugely unmeasurable.
- Share your mission and vision – Constantly communicate your plans and vision to your team and show them how important their roles are in achieving those goals. Make your vision visible in the office in order to keep everybody on the same page.
During meetings, find a way to talk about your company goals and how each and everybody is contributing to achieve that goal.
A sense of ownership is what you want your employees to have because when they do, you can rest assured that they are doing their jobs well and in the best interest of the business.
- Give responsibility – Stop micro managing and allow your team to do their jobs. If you know you hired the right people then show them that you trust them by giving them room to handle challenges by themselves, check in at key times but let them own it.
People work well if you let them be. If you‘re all over them, they’ll get nervous and won’t be able to do more. Allow your team to grow, to try new stuff, and to be creative as long as it is still aligned with the company goals and values.
- Recognize a job well done – Be appreciative and recognize even the smallest win. One way of motivating your team is by letting them know that you appreciate what they are doing. Incentivize if you must as long as a job well done is recognized. More people respond to commendation than reward.
Building your dream team is a process, a long one. Be patient. They are not going to be working like a well-oiled machine right from the get go but as long as you have the right people and they have the right leader, it will be easy to mould them into becoming the team that will eventually help you grow your business and more importantly share your vision.
Rodney Michail is the Managing Director at Ausloans and 1800Approved Finance Solutions where he mentors willing entrepreneurs in the asset finance sector. He is also an expert in improving top-line sales and profits of SMEs and corporate.