Many businesses (including Mowery & Schoenfeld) start out very small and somewhat simple. At least, it seems that way now. As we have grown, we have found the need for a stronger company infrastructure and increased operational sophistication. In order to have long-term, sustainable growth, we have to be constantly developing the internal infrastructure needed to support it.
We have found that in order to have a robust business, one needs to focus on these four pillars:
1. Organizational management
Implement a formalized system for measuring performance that begins with written job descriptions and training. Issue a clearly written handbook of company policies. Give employees regular and constructive feedback.
Taking these steps is not only necessary - it also serves to motivate, compensate, and reward staff members. Strong organizational management is particularly key to attracting and retaining good employees, who typically desire an objective and well-balanced performance evaluation system.
2. Business processes
At the core of your business are its processes. The more you can systematize and document them, the more easily you can train your staff to follow them for increased efficiency, productivity, and quality.
Professionalizing your business processes also involves streamlining operations in mission-critical areas. These include sales and marketing, finance, human resources, and customer product and service delivery.
3. Strategic planning
For new businesses and many small ones, business planning discussions occur randomly and informally. But, as your operations become increasingly complex, you've got to make strategic planning a regular and formalized activity.
Hold regular strategic planning meetings. Update your written business plan and communicate your strategic goals companywide. Doing so will keep employees in the loop and empower them to make effective decisions and act in alignment with your stated objectives.
4. IT systems
There's no way around it: Advanced technology runs today's businesses. Yet, as a company's operations grow, it can struggle with a conglomeration of outdated and disconnected hardware and applications. Supporting a professionalized, process-oriented business environment requires integrated IT systems. Employees can more easily access operational information and improve productivity with connected technology.
We reached a point where we needed to have our own internal IT person. Chris Madden has been a valuable addition to our Firm and has implemented protocols and procedures to be sure that we can keep running effectively from an IT perspective. I did a blog post
previously about the cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing vs. keeping such functions in house.
Every business, no matter how large or small, goes through growing pains. Please contact us for help managing your growth in a measured and financially secured manner, as we have experienced many of these same pains ourselves.