Growing pains are so real. I have many clients who would like to grow their business, but they don’t know how.
Take my client, Claire. Claire was a communications manager for small businesses. When we met, Claire was doing well: she had the flexibility she needed, and she loved having her own business.
But what Claire didn’t like was that it was all-encompassing. She worked nights and weekends, which the family hated, and she wasn’t making enough money to make it worthwhile.
We had to take a step back and work out how to make Claire’s business better. We went back to her WHY. Why had Claire started her business? Why was she working so hard? Who was she serving, and what did “better” look like?
By doing this exercise, Claire could determine her target market and identify what she needed to do to grow (in terms of resourcing, revenue and profit). So, Claire hired subcontractors to do some of the work while she took control of client engagement.
Claire soon realised that sub-contractors could be difficult to manage. And when you’re growing a business, you experience growing pains.
What are your pain points?
In business, we often feel growing pains when we don’t know how to manage people (especially if we haven’t done it before) or we don’t have the right systems and processes to manage them effectively. In Claire’s case, her growing pains were because she didn’t enjoy difficult conversations – or clear conversations, as I like to call them.
So, Claire had to work really hard at being clear with her contractors, and she had to implement processes to quality check their work. We also had some work to do around Claire’s operating rhythm. Would she hold Teams meetings with contractors? Would she catch up with them “in the cracks”? Or would she allocate time to her people in a more formal way?
We decided to implement a half-hour Teams meeting once a week. This meant Claire could meet one on one with her contractors to find out how they were going, how they were delivering on tasks, and what she needed from them (and vice versa).
We also kicked around accountability buddies, enabling Claire and her contractors to learn from each other. Is it fixed? Not yet. Is it on its way? Yes. Does it need continuous improvement? Absolutely.
Help those who are helping you
People take on contracting jobs for various reasons, but here’s what I’ve learnt. If you have anyone working with you in your business, you should work out how to make their lives better, and they should be committed to making your life easier – don’t you think?
If you can’t work out what that looks like for your business, you need to do some further thinking.
Will the growing pains go away? Yes, of course, they will. The longer a contractor does the job and gets your feedback, the better they become. And the more they know, the less you need to check in on them. But you never stop being the business owner. You will always be the one in charge of the growth. Right?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.