Are you a business owner who’s recently expanded from solo warrior to team leader? First off, congratulations! Growth is exciting, but it can also bring a wave of new challenges.
Many successful businesses are born out of a founder’s love for what they do, and when a passion becomes more than just a hobby, the foundations are laid for a growing enterprise. Now that doesn’t mean that success can’t be achieved by one person’s labour of love alone, but if things really take off there will inevitably be thoughts of expansion, whether that’s to match your own ambitions, or because you simply can’t keep up with demand.
This is where many business owners can lose the love for what they do. Going from, say, whittling wind instruments from wood, to dealing with day to day management of a team of staff with different strengths, weaknesses and concerns, organising who is doing what, and when, filling out endless forms to clarify to the tax office that your staff are assigned the appropriate tax codes or that your business is compliant with the latest health and safety regulations.
Going from doing it all yourself, to depending on other people to support your work, should be liberating and empowering but too many people in this position quickly discover that being a business owner is not the same as being a freelancer or sole trader ultimately responsible for all that you deliver. You’ve just become a manager and you’re probably finding you spend far more time engaged in frustrating, monotonous administrative tasks than you do delivering the work you used to so much enjoy – which is what brought you success in the first place.
So how do you avoid burnout and losing the love for your business when you’re growing at pace? Let’s dive into some insightful advice to help you navigate these uncharted waters with confidence.
Expansion means new responsibilities, especially when it comes to legal and financial matters. Don’t shy away from seeking advice from experts. You can get lost down rabbit holes for hours, days and even weeks trying to establish various liabilities and procedures you should be adhering to when a solicitor or tax accountant could share the necessary advice within a half hour phone conversation.
Yes, engaging professionals can be costly, but your time costs money too. A some point you need to weigh up whether the time spent trawling through gov.uk resources to understand employment laws and financial obligations could have been better spent building your business, whilst the experts take care of the nitty gritty.
Your first hires will shape your company’s culture. 21Twelve Consulting highlights the importance of hiring individuals who not only have the skills but also fit well with your vision and values, claiming this is “essential to building a cohesive and successful team.”
It may sound laborious and overly “corporate” to conduct multiple stage interviews with different candidates as you assess their suitability, but the more time you spend at the recruitment stage ensuring you make the right decision, the less time it will cost you in the long run. Make sure you find the right cultural fit from the off because trying to manufacture a company culture is far harder than fostering it organically through passionate and talented individuals sharing your vision.
As your team grows, so does the complexity of your operations. Where once a couple of spreadsheets and a notebook might suffice to keep on top of things, you’re asking for trouble if you don’t build your processes with your business.
Don’t waste hours of productivity repeating monotonous tasks because that’s just the way things have always been done. Find the tools you need to automate this work and move on to more pressing things. We live in an era of cloud software and apps capable of taking on near enough any task you care to throw at them. And if there’s a task you’ve found that isn’t catered to by a software company, well you’ve just found another business that needs starting!
Take a look at our recommendations on top productivity tools for SMEs for some ideas on software for streamlining your operations.
There comes a stage where choosing the right office space is crucial. And yes, of course we’d say that, but it doesn’t make it any less true! Starting out from your bedroom and recruiting your first team members to work remotely from their homes is absolutely fine, and there are successful companies who continue to work like this. But for many businesses, the need for somewhere to meet, to focus and to engage with one another becomes increasingly crucial. So what are your options looking like?
Traditional Leased Office: Ideal for established routines and branding, particularly with a growing workforce and requirement for regular onsite availability. But, it can be costly and inflexible.
Coworking: These spaces can offer flexible, cost-effective solutions with networking perks. If you only need catch up with team members infrequently and privacy isn’t a concern, the convivial atmosphere of many coworking spaces can be great for getting on top of your work and breaking free of your home office/kitchen table a couple of times a week.
Serviced Offices: In many respects, the best of both worlds option. Your business gets its own dedicated private space and professional address, suitable for housing staff and holding meetings with customers and clients, whilst still being part of a bigger community and enjoying all the benefits that come with that. With a serviced office most of your costs will be included and the terms are more flexible than with traditional leased offices.
Your well-being is key and it’s important not to lose sight of that. As your business grows so too does your list of responsibilities, along with your stress levels.
There’s no “one simple trick” to not letting the grind get you down but the Mind website is a great place to start if you’re after some fantastic advice on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. And failing that you can always take a stroll through one of Brighton’s best parks to clear your head and refocus in times of heightened stress levels.
Investing in the right technology can quickly streamline your growing business’ processes. We’ve already highlighted the benefits of finding the right software to help with efficiency but don’t neglect your hardware either. Sluggish old laptops incapable of working at the same pace as your staff are just costing you capacity.
As your business grows from servicing small clients to more valuable contracts with bigger firms the transition can affect your original client relationships. But regardless of their relative value to your blossoming business, neglecting those that helped you get to where you are isn’t just poor form, it can come back to bite you.
Maintain consistent quality and communication with your core clients during growth phases. Newer customers can enjoy separate relationships with your growing account management team, but those you supported form the start should always be on your radar
Growing your business is a thrilling journey, and it’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed at times. Remember, you’re not alone. At JetSpace, we’re all about supporting businesses like yours with flexible, growth-friendly workspace solutions. If you’d like to know more about our serviced offices in Brighton or Shoreham just get in touch and let’s grow together!