The number one reason small businesses fail to scale – Part 2

Last week, I looked at the number one reason why many small businesses fail to scale to the next level and how that is often linked to not engaging the right CEO and executives with the vision and skills to take the business to the next level. This week I look at three top tips on how to change this.

The problem for many CEOs is they have not had the experience of growing an organisation from a small company into a thriving success. As such, they don’t have the knowledge and experience to support them on this journey.

To grow, themselves and their small business, they need to surround themselves with people who do have the skills and knowledge and work together to achieve the desired outcome to grow the business further.

In surrounding themselves with a strong knowledge base, CEOs are also setting the scene for themselves to expand their own knowledge and skills.

As the founder and CEO of a recruitment and HR consulting business, I made my fair share of mistakes along the way and wish I knew then what I know now. There is no doubt I if I were to do it all again today, my approach would be very different.

So here are my top three tips for business founders and CEO who want their business to be a success and, hopefully, save themselves plenty of grief along the way.

Find the right mentor

I believe one of your first steps towards success is finding the right mentor, coach or consultant who understands your industry, what you are trying to achieve and who have a proven track-record of growing businesses.

Of course people with this kind of experience are sought-after and are usually not motivated by money. Many of these types of personalities thrive on the start-up of new projects and it is the excitement of being a part of the first phases of a project which are most likely to catch their attention.

Network within your industry

I would also have started my career by extensively networking within my industry with the express purpose of discovering who I needed to know.

If I couldn’t find that person in Australia, I would travel more. I also would have gone to more conferences overseas because that is where I would have found a larger pool of bigger businesses. It’s the founders and CEOs of those businesses I needed to meet.

These are the people who have the experience to know what I didn’t know and about who and what it takes to grow a business to the next level. Because we are not in direct competition, they’re likely to be more candid. Hopefully, they’d also be willing to grant me access to their senior people so I could meet and better understand what ‘good’ looks like at this level of executive.

Know what you need from executives before you recruit

Before you start recruiting executives for your business, be very clear what skills, attributes and experience you think they should have to support your business’s growth strategy.

One of the greatest learnings I share with my clients, is that as a founder and CEO you’ve got to make it your mission to understand the leadership capability you need to surround yourself with.

You are the only person in your business who has the time to learn on the job; the rest of your executive team need to know more than you about how to grow this business to the next level. If not, it’ll be the blind leading the blind.

Trust me, there is a better way.

Rob Davidson, Executive Coach and Founder, Davidson WP

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