If you’re a small business owner, you are probably looking forward to the day when you have more clients than you can handle, and a flood of work. But when it actually happens, it can be very overwhelming. Your current clients want their needs met yesterday, you have new business leads that go untapped, and some work is beginning to fall through the cracks. Worst of all, you don’t have time to sit down and figure out how to improve the situation. Seasoned managers and business owners usually know to call in business consultants when they are dealing with change management situations such as downsizing, merging or restructuring. However, it is just as important to ask for expert help when your business is scaling up and you want to maintain this high level of growth.
We recently worked with a small marketing firm that has more clients and more work that the team could presently handle. Here are three ways we helped them get a grip on their situation, and move forward:
1) First, we recommended they do a thorough brain dump of every single task each person is doing and approximately how much time is spent doing each. This is a critical first step because it allows the members of the organization to a) step back and take a complete view of the total work load b) understand which tasks are the biggest time drain c) bring clarity to the situation which then allows for problem solving.
2) The second step was to guide them in an exercise that enabled them to mentally jump out of the problem situation. We asked them to imagine how the organization would be functioning in an ideal world with all the current problems solved. We asked, “if your business was functioning exactly how you want it, what would it look like – in detail? What would you be doing differently? What would you be doing the same? What would you no longer be doing?
3) Third, we strategized ways to sensibly scale up their business. What tasks does each person like to do, do well, and want to continue doing? What tasks does each person need to do because they possess the skill to do it? Which tasks should they stop doing altogether because they are not a productive use of their time? And finally, what tasks can they either hire in someone to do or contract out.
Scaling up you business can be both exciting and scary. We like to think of “too much business” as one of those “lucky problems”. So, if you are struggling with too much work, it’s time to call in the experts so you can move your business successfully forward.