I was reviewing some business statistics today. I knew that small business was the backbone of our country but did not realize the extent. Did you know that there are 24.3 million ‘non-employee’ firms? There are 5.83 million firms with employees and ninety percent of those have less than twenty employees. Combined, non-employee firms and employee firms with less the twenty make up nearly ninety-eight percent of the business community.
As I reflected on these, I recalled the Greiner Model regarding the phases of growth in the lifecycle of an organization. I assume that many have moved past initial startup but have not matured or grown enough to surpass 20 employees. In many cases, I’m sure this is by intent and in other cases, I suspect it is the result of struggling to break through the ceilings and obstacles that are inevitable with growth. The passion, creativity, and talent of the Entrepreneur can only lift a company so far before the challenges of things like complexity, too many priorities, people issues, department silos, communication breakdowns, fear of delegation and many others create a ceiling and we decide to live where we are or try the next salvational program.
As companies try to grow and encounter ceilings, the challenge is lifting our head long enough to identify the growth barriers and dedicate a portion of scarce time to working “on the business”. Leaders in a growing organization must:
- Be astute at SIMPLIFYING COMPLEXITY and providing CLARITY of organizational direction.
- Get comfortable giving up control and authority by learning to effectively DELEGATEto those that have the skill and the will to grow.
- Eliminate redundancy and chaos by gaining control over CORE BUSINESS PROCESSES so that they become sustainable and scalable.
- Design an effective STRUCTURE with clear ACCOUNTABILITIES, not one based on the need for power or aggressive personalities.
- Adopt an OPERATING SYSTEM that fosters the formation of clear direction, the institutionalization of the desired culture, and accountability for execution.
Thank you to the 30,000,000 Entrepreneurs who are the backbone of America and that took the risk to chase a dream. Every business leader has the desire to win; if you’re trying to grow by outworking the next guy, consider taking time to prepare a winning game plan to break through the ceiling that is holding you back. For questions or more information pertaining to this article, please contact Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.