Could you function without this key staff member?13th June 2018
Every company has a people story.
The legend of the founder, and those that joined early to make the fledgling company grow. The late nights and weekends spent grafting together, pouring collective blood, sweat and tears to bring income, clients and success…..
As heart-warming as these stories are, every growing company also has people stories that didn’t go so well.
When new leads plummet because the marketing manager doesn’t have the knowledge necessary to explore new growth opportunities (that competitors have been doing for years).
That time Penny from Accounts (the only person in Accounts) was on long term sick leave and nobody knew how the accounting system worked.
Or when revenue declined because the Sales Director decided to move to a new city and he wasn’t replaced for six months.
There’s no question that having the right people in place is a crucial foundation for your company. They hold a lot of knowledge that’s essential for your company to function and grow, and are often its driving force.
Still, being dependent on any one individual is a risk companies serious about growth can’t afford to take.
Take a moment now to name the key people in your company.
What would happen if one or some:
- Decided to leave the company and weren’t replaced quickly?
- Were reluctant to develop their expertise to grow their role?
- Took early retirement?
- Was off sick for a few months?
If the answer is “we wouldn’t be able to function just as well as we do today”, you need to change the way you work.
You need to make sure that your company has systems and processes in place to handle every function smoothly – regardless of who’s in the job.
We call this becoming “processes dependent” rather than “people dependent”.
The former is the hallmark of grown-up, well-run companies that can handle millions in turnover. The latter is a sign that your business is still young, and has a way to go before you can achieve smooth growth.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about signs it’s time to change the way you manage your finances. Being people-dependent is one of those key signs.
You cannot be vulnerable to the whims of one person, or sudden changes in the lives of your team.
- Creating and documenting key financial processes such as chasing invoices and running payroll, so that a new person can pick up these tasks seamlessly, and knowledge is shared
- Ensuring that you get regular financial reports so that if you disappeared tomorrow, your successor could still make key investment decisions
- Replacing manual tasks with software where appropriate, so your people can focus on growth activity
Businesses often come to us because they are in a “people-bind”.
They tell us that in hindsight, they saw the signs that their bookkeeper would leave, but didn’t think it would have such an impact.
Or they didn’t realise that the only person who could understand their numbers was their accountant, whose spreadsheets were utterly impenetrable to everyone else.
Don’t make that mistake.
We help business owners institute robust financial processes and systems, so that they are not dependent on any one person to run smoothly.
Often, an outside perspective is just what you need to make smart people decisions to grow your company.
If naming the people in your team and the consequences of them ‘disappearing’ raised some red flags, let’s talk.
Reply to this email today and let’s create a foundation of systems that supports growth.
If you can achieve that for your company, it will one day be the greatest people story of all…..