Door handles, dirty mugs and investing in business growth

Aug 24, 2017 | Blog

Far too often I walk into businesses and ask a very simple question, “If the handle falls off that door over there, who is responsible for fixing it?” Sadly, in 9 cases out of 10, the owner of the business (with already too much on his/her plate) will say, “Well actually, I do that.”

You can’t imagine the number of times I have walked into businesses and found the owners or managers busy washing dirty mugs, lying underneath desks sorting twisted cables, opening mail or emptying bins – and all because they are watching the pennies.

The question is: where do you draw the line and at what point do you sit yourself down and ask, “Why on earth am I doing this?”

At some stage every business will reach a point where it’s not possible to keep all the plates spinning. It’s not arrogant to admit that you don’t need to do some of the stuff that you could get others to do.  Indeed, I congratulate clients when they get to this stage, encouraging them to look back and see what they have created. I’ve yet to meet a client who dons a Superman suit underneath their clothes – but every day I meet business people who are trying to squeeze into one!

As your business grows, so do your responsibilities and those include investing in a solid infrastructure and platform to support the business as it grows.

The key word here is Invest.

It’s not about cost or spending; it’s about making sure you feed your business with the right processes, technologies, knowledge and capabilities so that it can do what it does best:

  • Delivering the product or service you set the business up to provide in the first place.
  • Doing it smoothly.
  • Making sure the team or “engine” is the correct size and the right people are filling the right roles.

I liken it to being a parent….

We create and give birth to our children, guide and nurture them, educate them as best as we can and love them to bits, hoping that one day they’ll grow up to be the best they can be. I see businesses in the same way – nurture them and they are more likely to flourish. Behave with scarcity and invest little and you will see your business wilt in front of your eyes.

Is the decision to invest sometimes a hard one to make? Yes, often.

Might the restructuring and investments feel a bit uncomfortable? Yes, more than likely.

Will you occasionally question what you are doing? Yes, definitely!

All of this is OK – it’s just part of the normal business journey. Like having children, it’s sometimes hard to let go, but you have to trust them at some point.

So if you find yourself empting the bins or fixing computers then that’s your trigger to take a step back, reflect on what decisions you need to make, press the invest button …. And don’t look back!

Business strategy expert Gaynor McIntyre has over 20 years of consultancy and business coaching experience. In her next article, Gaynor shares top tips on building foundations that turbo charge businesses into a growth phase so watch this blog space.

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