Running a Small Business that isn’t Small Anymore

Like many small businesses you open your doors and start with a handful of employees. Then one day you wake up and you’re running a company with 15-30 employees. This can be a major change with many difficulties. You are not quite a small family style business anymore but you are far from a mid-sized business. You are in a zone of pain that has its own unique challenges.

So, what makes it so difficult?

  1. The owner can no longer be everything to everyone or have their hands on every task (at least they shouldn’t if they don’t want to burn out, slow things down or be a micro-manager).
  2. Certain industry or data tracking software is almost a necessity. For a company this size the issues is costs, but trying to survive on Excel spreadsheets is no longer working.
  3. Lack of specialized managers. You probably don’t have an HR Manager, but you need the specialized focus and expertise. Having your Controller or General Manager looking after HR, Marketing, IT, Finances and Inventory is too much for one person.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom. You just need to admit your clothing no longer fits and you need a new wardrobe. How you operated in the past is no longer going to work. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. You need to realize your company is bigger than just you. Start empowering, training and allocating others to perform tasks. You also need to provide trust, support and recognition. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business.
  2. Software can be expensive but there are many alternatives. Do your research and find competitors that have more affordable software. You may not be able to afford the leading software but you just might be able to afford a rival solution.
  3. Start working with consultants on retainer to help with areas like HR, Payroll, Marketing, IT, etc. You need the expertise and hiring a consultant will add much needed value versus hiring full-time expertise. The value will far outweigh the costs.

Many owners are not prepared for the zone of pain while others work within the zone. The main realization is that you need to find solutions that fit your situation. Now that you are larger, you cannot expect to get the same success from operating as a smaller company.