Businesses are a long-term investment and owners want their business to thrive for several years, if not decades. These entities grow over time as they gain more customers, employees, associates, and departments. Some businesses are structured well enough to keep up with the growth while others experience rapid growth in the first few years and are overwhelmed by it.
If you want your company to handle growth and expansion well, you need to structure it right. Your objective should be to build a business that can eventually survive without your active contribution. Most entrepreneurs build a business around their own skills, abilities, and vision. They don't consider their business to be a separate entity.
Most people don’t realise this is counterintuitive and that it can compromise their chances of building a successful business. After all, you can only do so much and eventually, your business will grow beyond the point where you can manage it by yourself. If your company has the right structure and is scalable, it can be independent and will thrive even if you don’t adopt a hands-on approach to it.
How do you structure your business for growth?
It's very difficult to restructure an established business in the middle of a growth spurt, which is why it's essential to establish a good structure at the outset. Your company should rely on the business structure to provide good service to your customers, and you with profits that will allow you to lead a comfortable life.
Before you plan to structure your business, you need to understand the basis of this structure. Many business owners consider themselves a single entity connected to the business. They consider themselves as the business owner or investor but manage a number of different roles in the company. When you define yourself with just one role, you club all management tasks underneath that role. That makes it difficult to create structure because you can't easily divide the duties and create separate roles.
When you start your business, create two separate roles for yourself: one as the business owner or investor and another as the manager. As the former, you're concerned with investment, profits, the direction of the company, and other such factors. As a manager, you're in charge of the day-to-day management of your company.
As your company grows, you can continue to be the business owner or investor but hire someone to take over the management aspect of your business. Because you have segregated your responsibilities into two distinct sections, it's easier to hand one over to someone else. You can handle more customers and projects, and gain higher profits because you have someone assisting you.
What does the manager do?
A manager also fills in a number of different roles in order to keep the business running smoothly. If you have a new and small business, one manager can handle all of these roles and accomplish different tasks without problems. However, as your company grows and you take on new projects and customers, you need to divide the manager's responsibilities as well.
A manager manages four different machines in the business and you can easily hire new managers to take over each machine if needed as your business grows bigger and becomes more influential. The four different machines are:
#1 The lead generation or marketing machine
The first machine is the one that generates leads and brings in customers. The manager handles all the marketing campaigns, examines the leads, and determines if they qualify to move down the sales funnel. Marketing is a big responsibility, especially because it brings in the traffic that sets your business in motion.
If you have no marketing, you won't have clients, you won't have projects to work on, and there will be no income. Once you have a lead generation machine in place and appoint a manager to handle it, you can move on to the next machine in your business. All the leads generated by the marketing machine are sent towards the sales machine.
#2 The conversion or sales machine
This machine includes your sales team and it's their job to convince the customer to hire your service or purchase your product. The lead generation machine sends in the most qualified leads to this department in your business to ensure they have a good base to work with. The customers that are directed towards the sales department are primed and ready to be convinced.
If you have a well-trained and well-managed sales team, they will convert a large portion of your customers and convince them to purchase your product. Once the customers are converted, the third machine of your business takes over.
#3 The client fulfillment machine
This machine is the core of all businesses because they perform the service or deliver the product clients pay money for. Customer satisfaction should be the main focus of this department as your company's reputation and future profits are at stake. An efficient manager will make sure everything runs smoothly, and that all products and services provided to customers live up to the quality standards you promised during the sale process.
It's always a good idea to hire an experienced and skilled manager to handle this aspect of your business because you can't be lax about quality control and efficiency. If your company fails to deliver, your lead generation and sales machines won't be able to attract customers or convince them to invest in your products and services.
#4 The business machine
The business machine runs in the background. It ensures your business is profitable, systemized, efficient, and delivers on all promises. This machine handles all of the back office work that keeps core business processes like accounting, maintenance of equipment, HR, training, and other such factors running.
The business machine is focused inward rather than outward. Your business will benefit if you hire a manager who can focus entirely on the internal workings of your company rather than being distracted by marketing and customers.
You can hire four different managers for all four machines and create a management team for them as your company grows. This structure is easily scalable and won't disrupt your business processes.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.