In the early days of a new business the founder needs to be hands on, setting up the business and enthusing others with their entrepreneurial zeal. When that business has been up and running for a while it may be time to step back and take some time-out to review and re-asses goals and priorities.
It’s tempting to carry on in the same vein – working longs hours and staying very much hands-on at the business coal-face. Let’s be honest, some bosses can sometimes be control freaks, that’s often what drives them to set up their own business in the first place. But as well as exhausting yourself mentally and physically you may be doing the business few favours. Busy with everyday details, it can be difficult to critically assess the direction of your business. Rather than entrenching yourself further, it may be time to step back, trust the management team and give yourself time to look at the bigger picture.
Research by the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel Development) suggests that there are four stages of ‘SME growth and SME transition.’ The first and second stages are the obvious start-up and emerging enterprise phases. However it’s in the third stage, consolidation which is the time for founders to think about stepping back to reflect and improve on where the business is heading. At this stage your workforce will have grown and more attention will be needed for employee management issues.
Innovation and creativity need time too and you’re best placed to concentrate on these aspects rather than the nuts and bolts of the business. You’ll want to check that the company is not stuck in a rut but provides value to customers and increases profitability.
Step back for success: two business examples
Whether it’s larger firms, such as Morrisons supermarkets responding positively to pressure from Aldi and Lidl, after reviewing the business are now for example bringing back the Safeway brand to better utilise their manufacturing capability; or smaller businesses such as Flame Heating Spares MD John Savage who explains why taking a step back is important for the continued growth of his business – both provide a good guide to the value of stepping back to assess the way forward.
Business founders need to develop the skills to make an effective transition
Skills in delegation and trust will be important – you’ll need to trust your direct reports, and their teams. Your role in imparting the original vision and determination is something to be shared now with the senior team.
It’s also vital to put the right tools in place to allow the company to flourish. With workforce growth comes increased job differentiation and a complexity which could be costing you time, taking you away from developing your business. Are you happy with the systems that your firms uses for workforce management?
An automated cloud-based time and attendance system gives you the tools and data you need to take a step back and review your business:
- it provides efficient clocking-in options for a growing workforce.
- it can streamline HR processes – for example, timesheet data is automatically relayed to Payroll.
- it allows you to review your productivity – from staffing figures, to employee costs, sickness, other absence and lateness clocking-in data you can see where costs may be racking up.
- it improves management capability by offering a cloud-based option – this means your time and attendance processes and data can be accessed and managed from any internet-enabled device at any time. As well as freeing up your own computer networks, it means managers can do their job on the move and in a more flexible way.
Stepping back from your business allows you to invest time in the next phase of your business and ensure the continued success of your original idea. As part of the review take a look at how you manage time and attendance and make sure your system is up to the job for your business.