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Managing change in a high growth business

Published on Tuesday, 11th August 2015

Nick Dean offers his thoughts on how to ensure your business remains progressive, true to its values and most important of all, profitable and enjoyable

In today’s world of start ups and fast growing SMEs it’s probably no surprise that much of our regional business community is made up of companies with employee head counts of somewhere between 5 – 200 people. Only a few years ago and in more dark trading conditions, forecasting headcount growth was often a cautious affair. 

Today’s conversations feel a world away: ‘I can see us needing to take fifteen to twenty people over the next year or so’. This optimism and buoyancy creates new challenges: ‘where will I find enough people, how are we going fit everybody we need in? We’re on a five year lease’. 

These challenges are potentially just the start of what lies ahead and call for a phrase often heard in the corporate world, ‘change management’, however in our opinion these words should be at the heart of any SME business undertaking high growth activity.

By 'change management' we’re referring to how you manage growth internally. When business grows, things change, it’s inevitable. What worked for five people trying to get the business off the ground, compared to sixty people spread over 6,000 sq ft and two floors, are going to be totally different.

If this resonates with your business right now, here are five take away considerations to ensure your business remains progressive, true to its values and most important of all, profitable and enjoyable:

1. Understand where you are right now and what you want to be – Be clear on where you are, what you stand for, what your vision is and what your values are. Be just as clear on what you want to be and how you’ll measure the success of reaching it 

2. Employee Engagement – Share the vision. Maintain clear communication channels throughout, get employees directly involved, engaged and listen to what they have to say

3. Behaviours and Values – Create a recruitment model that hires people against your businesses values and behaviours as importantly as you assess their capabilities and skills 

4. Think long term – How will team structures look? How will communication channels flow? How will departments operate cohesively and collectively as one big happy family fighting for the same objectives and outcomes 

5. Milestones – Map out the projected growth into real milestones, give yourself a clear picture of what needs achieving, what resources are required and when they need achieving by. Preparation is everything

It’s not rocket science; however it’s not always easy to maintaining a clear head whilst guiding a business through a high growth period. If this sparks even the smallest reminder or moment of clarity, we’ll have done our job well.