One of the dangers in growing your business is bottlenecks. Often we think of that this occurs when the business grows to quickly and you haven’t yet had a chance to grow capacity. While this is true, this is often the surface answer, in other words, the symptom and not the cause.
Bottlenecks are by definition caused by the fact that there isn’t enough capacity – decisions / actions are delayed simply because the person authorised to focus on this isn’t getting to it.
Right, thats obvious you are thinking, so whats my point? Well notice, I said person – now what if there were person(s) responsible, the bottleneck would be gone. And most often the reason this is not the case is because the leader is holding on to everything and struggling to let go.
There is a certain stage of a business where you as the leader are able to have a hand on pretty much everything but if take the decision to grow you have to at the same time make the decision to let go some direct control otherwise you will not succeed.
Something(s) will fall behind – you might loose a potential sale, you might not deliver to your customer on time, you might find your employees unsure of what they can and cant do. While these examples might not seem significant they will lead to significant impacts in key areas needs for growth like:
1. Your brand and reputation – if you are known for not delivering on time, not following up on leads – you will start to loose potential clients and this will impede your growth
2. Your profitability – if you are not delivery on time or quoting correctly – your profitability for each contract will be effected to the point that you might end up with clients where you pay them for their business.
The key learning I am sharing with you is when you decide to grow, one of the first critical steps is to map out how the internal processes and procedures will change – and here I don’t mean pages of complicated and complex outlines! Rather focus on your growth goals (such as your revenue targets) and understand the practical capacity issues and then plan your restructure to smooth out the bottlenecks that you see materialising.
And remember, if you are growing you have to grow the number of decision makers.