Let’s face it: growing your small or medium-sized business (SMB) is challenging. It takes time, diligence, savvy and no small amount of hard work. That’s why on today’s blog, we’re kicking off a series of three articles where we’ll identify how to set your business up for success, from identifying business goals, to creating a growth culture, and understanding the dynamics of growth.
In this first article in the series, we’ll focus on goals, purpose and assessing your business’ growth capabilities.
Ask the Hard Questions
If your SMB is looking to grow, there are some fundamental questions you must answer as an organization. What is the purpose of the company? What values do you hold most dearly? What kind of company do you want to be?
The answers to these questions impact every decision you make, from the staff you hire to help your business grow, to the type of clients your business should seek to attract. Companies that want to grow need to make these decisions carefully, but this can sometimes seem challenging for SMBs and small businesses: after all, you’re competing with bigger firms for talent as well as competitors for clients.
That’s why defining your purpose is so important. At Tolar Systems, our purpose is to help clients grow more profitably with IT. Our vision was to be a company that provided the kind of services we would want to receive. When we clearly defined our purpose and values and committed to them, we began to use them as the basis of key business decisions. This in turn attracted clients and employees who were similarly focused and committed to the same vision and values as we were. By attracting clients and employees who were more committed to our business, we retained them longer, allowing for increased profits and faster growth.
What does using values and purpose as a gude to business decisions look like in practice? Here’s a recent example: at Tolar Systems, one of our key values is following the Golden Rule by delivering the kind of fast and efficient services we want to receive. However, we found that as we got busier, we were not always able to respond to our clients as quickly when we had high call volume or on weekends. We felt that issue was holding us back from living out our values in the business. So we introduced our live 24/7 contact center, in order to stay in alignment with our values.
Determining vision, values and purpose is the first step for companies that want to grow. If you have not yet figured out your purpose and values, we suggest listening to Simon Sinek’s “Find Your Why” Ted Talk. Sinek makes several statements that can get you thinking about the hard questions and identifying what makes your business unique.
Work to Your Strengths
Once a business has determined what kind of company they want to be, the team can assess the strengths they bring to the table. One effective way to detect those strengths is to ask, “What can we do better than anyone else?”
Your organization should also determine if there are any problem areas holding them back, and how you accommodate those. Can your organization partner with someone else or outsource those things you just do not do as well?
Tolar Systems worked with a business coach to identify that what we do better than anyone else is bringing high level IT standards to small and medium sized businesses. Although we are good at technology management, that alone doesn’t separate us from our competition. Where we truly excel, however, is working as consultants on behalf of our clients to help them with best practices and leveraging their IT to meet their unique business goals. That is what sets Tolar Systems apart, and it’s how we focus on bringing value to our customers that, in turn, helps their business grow.
Managing Your Business Differently
If your business is focused around your purpose and the things you do best, that means that you also must find workable solutions for those business processes that are more of a struggle. Those solutions can range from hiring employees with the skills to cover those functions or outsourcing to partners or vendors for certain services.
For many of our clients, managing IT is one of the biggest impediments to growth their business faces. For us, it was managing human resources and marketing. We simply didn’t have time or resources to focus on those areas. Yet, these are not optional activities; they’re pretty important for a growing company! Our solution was to work with cost-effective freelancers to handle those functions for our business. Yours might be to work with a company like us. Regardless of your business challenges, if you choose your vendors carefully – looking not just at skills but also at whether the vendors are aligned with your values and purpose – these can become long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that streamline your operations and help your business to thrive.
Managing a small business into growth mode means thinking about things differently and staying true to your values. By capitalizing on what you do best, you are setting your small business up for success in the long run.
Ready to Grow? Contact Us!
If your business is ready to enter growth mode but managing IT is holding you back, contact Tolar Systems to help set your business up for success.