Making the decision to grow your business is a big step that takes a great deal of thinking, a willingness to commit resources, and more than a little courage. It also takes the cooperation and involvement of your management team. Whether your agency is small or large, the people who help you run it have to be fully aware of and committed to your plans for growth, or else you probably won’t succeed.
Any kind of change to a going concern creates some degree of uncertainty among the people who work for you. That’s why it’s important to communicate your plans and ensure that everyone is involved, and it’s especially true for the people you count on to lead the rest of your staff.
You can tell your team that your agency is going to grow this year, but you’d better be ready to answer their immediate question: how? The only way they’ll have confidence in the agency’s potential for growth — and be willing to support you through the role they’ll play — is if they know that you have a clear plan of action.
Think through all the aspects of your business and set measurable goals. You’ll want to define specific objectives for your growth plan, because vague statements such as “we’ll increase profits” don’t provide any clear guidance. Going into growth mode is an excellent time to rethink the way you handle existing business. Encourage your management team to look for ways to improve practices and processes. Have them identify steps that will improve the efficiency of your operations. That will be particularly beneficial, because it will allow you to handle the new business you add without having to increase headcount or lengthen the workday.
Growth can also call attention to shortcomings, inefficiencies, and needs within your agency. Addressing those issues may require investing in people, such as gradually growing your management team, or investing in systems and processes. If your technology resources aren’t up to the task, perhaps it’s time to upgrade. If your knowledge of financial reporting and controls isn’t strong, you may want to ask your accountant to play a bigger role.
If you have the right management team in place, your role as a company leader can change significantly as you grow. With your team focused on handling the day-to-day business, you can step back and look at the bigger picture. You can concentrate on strategic opportunities instead of solving problems, which will allow you to continue to grow your agency.
That only works if you have the right people and have helped them grow as managers. Preparing them for that role may involve coaching them, encouraging them to pursue new licenses or professional development, maybe even obtain a college degree. When you invest in your team’s skills, you strengthen their loyalty, and you make your agency more profitable.