Hi Aunty B,
I run a consultancy and employ 10 full-time staff. The company is quite young (company age as well as staff age) and everyone works hard in a really enjoyable work environment.
We are growing each year, but we still have quite a flat reporting structure with everyone reporting directly to me. I find that I get involved in solving a lot of day-to-day issues and get distracted from working “on” the business.
I want to introduce a structure to the company to free up my time, which will allow the company to continue to grow at a steady rate. I am not sure the best way to set a structure – do I, for the purposes of setting the structure, forget the staff I have and come up with my ideal structure? Or do I work with the people I’ve got and set a structure around them?
I think the outcomes would be very different, but both could work. My main concern with implementing a structure is that it will change the dynamics in the office. Any ideas??
Congratulations on a terrific company! First, never forget the staff you have (unless they are appalling and you intend to sack them).
You need to look very closely at the skills and ambitions of the people you have. Then you want to write a list of the skills you would like to bring in. For example, do you need more leadership in operations? Or more structures around your financial and reporting processes?
Then again look at your people. Who is really hungry, talented, passionate, loyal, interested in the business and could be promoted to a general manager role? Or should you bring in a chief financial officer and have several people report to him/her?
Many entrepreneurs tell of the disasters that occur from hiring in a general manager as key people leave and the general manager is not up to speed on clients, the business or the culture. On the other hand entrepreneurs tell us that getting the right person in a CFO role or a general manager role is the best thing they ever did!
Don’t forget yourself in this restructure. What do you hate doing? It is important that you maintain your passion and excitement for the business as it grows into a medium sized business and you work more on the business than in it. (And I have to warn you that many entrepreneurs lose a bit of enthusiasm when working on not in the business. So make sure you keep a function in the operational sense that you enjoy doing and delegate any function you hate.)
It also sounds like you are not burnt out and so do not need to make radical changes quickly. So take the restructure slowly and include your staff at every step of the way. Always promote from within if possible unless you need to change culture or import skills you are lacking. (It’s also cheaper.)
Your Aunty B.