Difficulties of Scaling a Business

Shortly after acquiring Node LLC in late 2018, I realized the business was running me more than I was running the business. Grant Ellis, our CTO and partner, suggested our executive team should go through “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman. I can say this was probably the single most important feat we undertook in the last decade. These are the two predominant concepts I gleaned on my journey thus far.

The Plunge

Gino Wickman put it best when he said, “It is less important what you decide than it is that you decide.” As a perfectionist, I find I need a complete understanding and plan before I will present items to the rest of the team. This was the first hurdle I was obligated to overcome.

Our team started by reading the book and creating a rough outline that took us through the first year. Two years later, the landscape of our business has forever been changed. As an example, we plan our hiring a quarter in advance. You might ask yourself, “why does that matter?”. The answer lies in predictability. Many owners find themselves running from one task to the other for 70 hours a week. Still unable to get everything done because every task seems just as urgent as the next. This is because the business is running them instead of them running the business. When you have predictability and clarity of plans, you can make steady strides every quarter to achieve the 5-year goal. Empires aren’t created overnight.

To make the change, it must start somewhere. This is the essence of the “plunge”. Jump in feet first and see what can happen. Gone are the days of scrambling to find new employees or put out fires.

“Core Values + People Analyzer = Right People”

Core values should be the basis by which you hire, fire, and promote. The intention of hiring employees is to delegate the tasks which they are suited for, yet we still have a hard time relinquishing control. The right core values are the guardrails you have been searching for.

Next, you can determine key performance indicators for your team and hold them accountable for their roles with your weekly meeting. Start shifting some of the responsibility to others and you will find the team members who rise to the occasion are your “right person, right seat” people.

Others will fail to rise, and you will be left with a decision to make. Is this the right person who meets the core values and is in the wrong seat? Or is this a wrong person problem? While this might be hard to address, employees will be your greatest asset or worst liability.

Gino Wickman makes two great points I would like to highlight:

“The right seat means that each of your employees is operating within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside your organization and that the roles and responsibilities expected of each employee fit with his or her Unique Ability®.”

“Each of your departmental heads should be better than you in his or her respective position. Of course, you will need to give them clear expectations and instill a system for effective communication and accountability. Once you have the right people in the right seats, let them run with it.”

Gino Wickman, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

If you take the time to think about it, the implications from just these quotes can completely change the culture of your business. This changes a reactionary business with employees who are timid and afraid, to employees that are eager to please because they have been given the “guide” to success. This creates a winning team and culture.

In Conclusion

As the brain of the operation, you DO often know what is best. It just might be time to manage more than do. This was the case for me as well. Making the transition is difficult yet rewarding and critical for scaling the business. If there is anything I can encourage you on, it is these two main points above: take the plunge and build the right team. The rest will fall into place.

These principles of quarterly cadence and planning meetings are the basis for what we built our vCIO services on. A technology business guru in your organization wearing the “hat” of streamlining business operations with best-in-class technology and mitigating your risk. These are often critical roles overlooked until the organization is too adverse to change or catastrophe strikes. Our video here best describes the importance of this and how the vCIO can strategically advise in scaling your business.

When you are ready to walk with a partner who can finish changing the game for you, go ahead and give us a call. We would love to share our story and help along the way.

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Shane Morris

Experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and MSP industry. Shane has performed technology and business consulting with companies up to 1200 employees to optimize business processes that streamline productivity, increase uptime, and mitigate business risk in the best and worst cases. Evaluating the organization first is the most important aspect of running business technology since 70% of all IT problems can be mitigated with proper business processes. With a diverse background in consulting for over 100 businesses in various industries, Shane can evaluate those processes in different industries, streamline them and help your business thrive in this technology-focused world. Industries of expertise include but not limited to, engineering, manufacturing, financial sector, and healthcare.

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