It’s got to be a great thing when you’ve started up a business; you’ve been through all the ups ad downs and the birthing pains and have finally grown to a stage where there is a fair amount of stability.
Typically, unless you turn potential clients away, you don’t stop at that stage. Hopefully the quality and utility of your products and/or services and your reputation means that clients may really begin to knock on your door and as a result, real growth begins to set in. This can be a challenge in of itself, but one that most people will say is a positive challenge that they are willing to live with. I believe that it can be a make or break stage that is indeed a positive challenge if handled properly.
A lot of innovative organisations are built partly around a quality product or service, but also around the ethos and values, the passion and a back-story of the founder. You’ll notice it with Dragon’s Den; the Dragons are often just as interested in the person behind the product, as they are in the product itself. Through my networking years, I’ve also consistently heard people say that people do business with people that they Know, Trust and Like.
Key in responding to needs as an organisation grows is therefore not just to retain the quality, but to additionally retain the ethos and values – that USP that has a special if not unique value, I remember going to a restaurant and being so impressed by the quality of service offered by the waitress that I told her that it was a shame that they couldn’t carbon copy or clone her. She walked away with a big smile that I hope lasted for the rest of the day if not week as a whole. To be honest I’m not really interested in cloning people though, I am interested in different people working for an organisation all positively representing the organisation and what it stands for.
I could produce a long list of things to do to achieve this, there are, however, two key things that immediately come to mind that I recommend to organisations implement when they reach the growth stage – if not earlier.
The first is that organisations clearly define and establish their vision, values and ethos with the buy in a support of current employees and developing these as a key part of the organisation culture; recruiting new employees not just on the basis of technical skills or even soft skills and attitudes, but also on the basis of the organisation’s culture (which does not discount both diversity and uniqueness). Have this clearly established in writing with an understanding of supporting behaviours so that it’s not lost in the day to day and anyone interacting with the organisation knows what to expect. My organisation values and principles are clearly outlined on the company website: http://conningtowers.org/values.php
Ensure that the organisation develops policies that ensure compliance with employment legislation as well as the organisation’s requirements and offering to staff. Equally important is to establish systems and frameworks that not only support this, but that additional reflect the organisation’s culture.
Oh and as a bonus, let me know if there is any way in which I can be of help!