Paul Robinson had what most "consultants" dream of--a thriving solo-I.T. practice earning a healthy six-figure profit. So why wasn't he satisfied? Because the long hours and high stress were causing him to burn out.
It was at this time that we first met and began working together. Paul became a business coaching client and asked us to help him scale.
Over 24 months Paul and his company (Ensunet.com) exploded--growing by 300 percent (and still climbing.)
Here are the 7 most critical ingredients of successful scaling that Paul put to work to help his company grow the right way--in a way that reduced his company's reliance on him.
Ingredient #1: Focus
It's not about more, it's about better. By focusing on fewer, better things you radically enhance your company's ability to grow. Same hours in the day, just much higher value to which you put each of those hours. In our time working together Paul internalized a structured approach of quarterly focusing his company and team onto a limited number of key objectives, and executing on those objectives with rigorous accountability.
Ingredient #2: Systems & Controls
One way to reduce the "attentional load" it takes for your team to get routine activities done is to systematize those activities so they are simpler, easier, and faster to do. Not only does this increase your business's operational capacity to handle more volume, but it makes it easier to add in new team members and get them productive faster. The structure your systems provide are an accelerant. Plus your internal controls are a way for your team to more effectively self-manage, and for your management team to get timely feedback to coach team members.
Ingredient #3: Culture
Culture is what tells your team what to do when they are in situations for which no system exists. It gives them a matrix of values and behaviors that are the "norm" at your company. In the case of Ensunet, the culture that Paul is building helps his team internalize a code of conduct and a way of doing things that they can apply to novel situations.
Ingredient #4: Team
As you scale your team becomes critical. Use your growth as a time to systematically upgrade the team members you have. Develop learning pathways wherein you give your key team strategically planned experiences to help them grow the skill set and experience base they need to contribute more to your company.
Ingredient #5: Coherence
Coherence means keeping all the parts of your company tightly wound a central and unifying theme. One of the biggest challenges you'll face as you grow is the pieces and people in your business starting to lose their synchronicity with each other. The best companies maintain the powerful performance booster of their parts reinforcing, supporting, and enhancing each other.
Ingredient #6: Connection
People thrive on meaning, and they must see how the work they do connects back to creating value for the world. That includes creating value for their internal customers, and the company's external customers. One review we regularly do at Maui Mastermind, is to share with our entire staff (at least once a month, usually weekly) a story of how the work they do blessed the life of one of our business owner clients. We want our team to review and see how what they do impacts our clients. This could be a business owner like Paul who has grown 300 percent, and at the same time increased his "Owner Independence" by over 500 percent. Or this could be a client who sends in a grateful email about how he can now take a summer vacation with his wife and kids for the first time since he launched his company over 5 years ago. Help your team connect what they do to the lives of other people.
Ingredient #7: Space
This final ingredient of scaling is counter-intuitive. To successfully scale, the business owner needs to create space (i.e. time when he or she isn't present) in which the company has to operate without him or her. Take the example of Paul. He like all business owners casts a big shadow. When he's there in the office his team looks to him for answers, for direction, for certainty. When he's away, even for a week, it gives his team and systems a chance to stand on their own two feet and grow. Intentional time away from the business is a great spark for growth and maturation of your systems, your teams, and your internal controls.
For more ideas on how you can grow your business without sacrificing your health, family, or life, I encourage you to join me for an upcoming private web training I am conducting. Click here for more information and to register for free.