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Keep the entrepreneurial spirit, but organize to grow business

Most businesses has one or several key individuals making the real difference to the company. You would need to nurse those entrepreneurial spirits and advantages but also to start building the corporate structure. Organize to grow business. The intellectual property or the intangible asset of the company.

Not only will new employees be more efficient and productive, so will the founders and other key individuals in the company. Clearly understood roles, responsibilities and expectations and main processes how things are expected to be done will help drive efficiency.

Continues improvement

There is a balancing act to consider, i.e. not focusing too much on internal organization, processes, documentation and other structures. At the same time however, their is a necessity to build a solid ground for further and enduring business growth. Working on these topics as your business grow will make a significant difference to profitability, quality and customer satisfaction.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

Organize to grow business
Keep the entrepreneurial spirit, but build the company organization to get to the next level.
Skype visited by Jonas Florinus
Jonas Florinus at Skype Sweden, a Skype Technologies SA subsidiary, one of the world's fastest growing businesses.

Key Features

Financial reporting
Statuary financial accounts

Statuary accounts is a must. Most small and medium sized businesses use accounting firms to produce those current accounts, financial statements and tax reporting. In the early days that is absolutely sufficient for statuary purposes. In addition, most businesses use these statements as the rough financial management tool to keep an eye on business.

Business reports

Soon however you will need better data. Excel analysis based on your statuary current accounts will not cut it any longer. With a growing business you need to work your margins, manage your expenses, and keep track on working capital. You need to organize to grow business. Consequently, you will need more appropriate breakdowns to make data efficient, relevant and accountable to your staff. Add to that relevant KPI's to track and foster efficiency and productivity.

As with other corporate infrastructure topics, there is no need to over do the administration. But to develop a set of usuable management reports is money well spent. That often start with quite a lengthily discussion on value drivers. The reason being that a well thought through, long term accounting structure will be needed as a foundation.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

Job descriptions
Documenting job descriptions is not the HR admin task to skip

Founders know what work to do. Long-term employees know how they do their work. Eventually however, you will expect more from your employees as your business grow. And you will hire new employees. For these purposes and for efficiency and productivity it is strongly advised to develop job descriptions to each position. And it is not one of those HR admin task to skip. Believe me if you look for true employee engagement, focus and efficiency improvements, and not only those few exceptions. Besides, performing job analysis and writing job descriptions will help you determine exactly what skills and resources you need.

Put the job descriptions in context

There are different ways to produce job descriptions as efficiently and smooth as possible. Doing so involve some context. To be worthwhile, job descriptions shall be aligned with the business plan, and with your key value drivers (KPI's). And they need to be relevant and accepted buy the people concerned. Setting the frame work, add good preparation and involve employees through a workshop serie is an investment. An investment well spent.

Harvesting the benefits of having produced job descriptions

The job descriptions is the base for your daily employee discussions once in place. Relate to them as the foundation to discuss continues improvements and efficiency potential in respective work area. These job descriptions are also a given framework for the annual appraisal dialogue. Coupled with your appraisal template you will not only pave way for those dialogues but also see increasing employee satisfaction.

More efficient staff recruitment will be a positiv spinn-offs from well sorted job descriptions. You will have relevant templates and can reduce your time for preparation ahead of new hirings.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

Why you shall define and work with the processes

In the early days most employees know what to do. Or they learn as they go. When growing your business you find out quite soon however that time and working capital are two scarce resources. To take efficiency to a higher level as the business grow you shall define your main processes. Do the basics. Don't do the large process mapping project with multiple process levels until you really need to.

Processes are target models and checklists on how you ideally run your business. It will help everyone to stay focus. And it will serve as a checklist to ensure quality. Also it will help new employees understand and perform their job descriptions.

Processes are not to be carved in stone. There will be exceptions, but if you do not develop your processes the exceptions will be the norm. Growing the business to the next level will be very difficult if that happens.

Main processes typically covers the following areas
  • The sales process typically describes your marketing, prospecting, negotiation, specification, closing, follow up and after sales.
  • The engineering (or product development) process describes specification, design, engineering, testing, verification and R&D.
  • The production process sets the basics for supply, manufacturing, assembly, stock-management, subcontracting, quality control and delivery.
  • The purchasing, logistics and distribution process is probably three different main process. But they can also be kept together depending on what business you operate. These processes are tremendously important once you grow, although sometimes not in focus. For quality, for working capital management, for margin improvements, etc.
  • The financial process is where most of the admin processes are sorted. Not least setting responsibilities for the payroll and for the important tax issues. Eventually this process needs to be split into several processes like HR, Communication and Financing.
Magic happens at the boarders of each process

Besides developing the individual process it is also key to focus on the interactions between them. This is were the border lines between different roles and responsibilities in the organization kicks in.

Well documented, understood and affirmed processes are important to get an organization to work towards the same target. It also a must to truly drive efficiency and productivity improvements. You shall organize to grow business. And you shall be very clear who the respective process owners are.

Process ownership and process management

Process admin comes down to yearly reviews ones the basic process definitions and work are done. Well, slightly simplified. The intention is not to redo these processes that very often. However, they are intended to be a part of the platform for efficiency discussions and continues improvements. Also, they are intended to be used when introducing new employees into the organization.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

The organization
You need to consider the organization when reaching different plateaus as you grow your business

Putting the organization together will be a peace of cake with job descriptions and processes in place? Well, maybe not. Transforming from a small business to a larger business means you reach a number of new plateaus. Some of them are organizational related, e.g.:

  • Reduce single-person dependencies.
  • Clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations.
  • Set the basis for focus areas for growth (e.g. profit responsible business units).
  • Organize so that employees have carrier opportunities.

Many startups don't have organizational charts. I am one of those who believe that medium sized and larger companies need organizational charts. And often small businesses need organizational charts as well. With the possible exception of founders, everyone else like to know their belonging, their scope of responsibility and whom they report to. And whom they do not report to.

Organize to grow business and organize for accountability

With a growing business you may also transform from a simple functional organization to a business unit organization or even a matrix organization. And each of these organizational forms has advantages and disadvantages subject to your objectives, timing and other considerations.

You will also need to consider related governance structures when establishing focus and accountability on growth. Not least to get the most out of the management team and for high performance individuals.

Finally, as an owner and investor you should also consider the composition of the Board of Directors. Get leverage. Use the Board of Directors as a tool, not as a statuary necessity or as a family meeting. Attracting well connected professional board members with relevant skills to help grow your company is money well spent.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

Recruitment and HR
Recruit resources, get leverage, organize to grow business

Employees is leverage. With more people you get more done. Maybe not exactly the way you would have done it yourself. But it will get done. If you lead them, you get efficiency, real growth and sustainable traction.

Hiring people is an art. Although you can easily go wrong, it will probably be an even worse act not to move at all. It is recommended to get professional help for key positions at medium sized and large companies. You need to find the most relevant, most motivated and best people available. For the rest, listen around, get advise, use google resources for intervju templates and contract templates.

Gradually sorting and eventually building the HR function

Eventually every medium sized business comes to a point where HR issues needs to be sorted and organized:

  • The job descriptions.
  • The annual appraisal framework and process.
  • The recruitments.
  • The compensation and benefit policy.
  • Payroll management.
  • Etc.

There are several ways to gradually built this function depending on your business  size and specific needs.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow business. Get in touch for a discussion.

You will need leaderships

Leadership becomes increasingly important once a business is growing, or have come to stagnation for that part. Being the owner or CEO is in most cases enough to establish authority at small businesses. It is not the same as being a leader, but it will be enough to run the business.

However, you need leadership to progress to the next level of growth. To be able to aspire to be a fast growing medium sized or large company. With size comes complexity with new plateaus and new challenges. You will need to expand the management of the company to get a productive span of control, ideally with leaders. Aspiring for true leverage on the entire organization, not only the top performers, require leadership. Not only authority.

So what is leadership?

Leadership means different things to different people. To me it means vision, empowerment of coworkers and engagement. But also energy, business acumen and profit expectations.

How can medium sized and large businesses work with leadership development?

Leadership can be developed. On a scale you will have, authority, administrators, leaders and great leaders. You need to focus on nursing and developing leadership to grow your business to the next level. Here's a few tips on how to nurse and develop company leaderships:

  • Coaching is more common than most people know. Most if not all CEO's of successful companies, including the largest listed companies, use coaches. In this respect a coach is a trusted sounding partner that the CEO meets on a regular basis. Say every 3rd or 4th week. Topics for discussion includes anything on the CEO agenda. Its a sounding partner, not a coworker. A great coach also nurse and develop the leadership skills of the CEO. Give gentle reminds on discussed to do's, away from the daily topics with customers, engineering, production, employees, etc.
  • The Board of Directors can, in rare circumstances, also be a leadership development tool for the CEO. In most cases however, the Board of Directors as a group is probably better suited for other purposes than leadership development.
  • Leadership training is great for managers new to their positions. It can also be a positive collective tool to build a specific company culture. However, general leadership training courses tend to be less valuable to the highest ranks of the business. Commitment tends to be challenging although some surprisingly basic leadership skills might need training. Consequently other methods will be needed. Think individual coaching again.

Need help and support to take your business to the next level? Organize to grow the business. Get in touch for a discussion.