What does it take to grow a company from startup to small business? Growing a business isn’t simple, and from an HR perspective, there’s a lot of work to be done. Here are five must-haves to take your business to the next level.
1. A Culture that Supports Your Purpose. For many entrepreneurs on the cusp of growth, it’s still go-go-go (and likely will be for a while). But stop working for a second and reflect on what aspirations you have for your company. You need to decide what kind of culture you want your company to have. Start with the end in mind, and then begin identifying what values will help you get there.
2. A Sustainable Operation. Can your business survive a week without you? Of course, it’s hard to loosen the reins. Before you cede control, you need a team you can trust. Getting the best people in the door isn’t easy, but hiring a few temporary contractors can free up some of your time–which you can then spend on finding your rockstars.
Also, invest time in codifying some standard operating procedures. Develop some guidelines for how work should get done to keep employees aligned with your culture and desired work style. Even with a small team, a little structure will go a long way.
3. Refined People Process. Once you can afford to take a breath, devote some time to developing people processes. The first step, is developing a great hiring process so you can begin cherry-picking your team. Before you hire anyone, decide how you will define success–for your company, your employees, and your managers–and how you’ll measure it. Apply this to how you score candidates and gauge cultural fit.
People processes don’t end with hiring. Open, two-way communication is key as you build your organization. Be transparent. Share your vision, and openly discuss how things are going. Implement a process for tracking employee goals and performance, and meet with your team regularly to give–and receive–feedback. Make sure everyone is set up to succeed at what you hired them to do.
4. A Network of Support. It’s lonely in the driver’s seat. Establishing a network of mentors and non-competing CEOs is pivotal to your personal development and that of your organization. Experts suggest developing a broad network of entrepreneurs so you can learn from them. There are endless resources available for honing your leadership skills.
5. An Eye Open for Improvement. Don’t get too comfortable just because you have things cranking a bit. Even if you’ve built a sustainable organization, your work is far from done. As any successful entrepreneur can tell you, be prepared to work harder (and enjoy working harder) than you ever have in your life.
You’ll make some mistakes (everyone does), which is why process improvement is always iterative. Learn from them, adjust, and consider how you can optimize for success.