If you were a one-man show when you started out, you probably wore all the hats. But as the business grew, you were able to hire and delegate to production and office staff. Unfortunately, such growth may have been unplanned and haphazard. You may have hired someone and essentially designed a job description around his or her unique set of skills rather than creating an organizational chart and hiring people to fill well-defined roles. They may have been great folks, but were they the best way to grow your business?
Time to Plan
Post recession and, most likely, with a leaner staff, you have the opportunity to plan for deliberate growth this time around. Identify what was done well or poorly in the past; now commit to doing everything just a bit better.
With the economy turning around, it’s time to think about a fresh start. Consider all you’ve learned about business since you started. Doesn’t it make sense to set aside time, possibly with input from your employees, to see how you can build the business back up with proper systems in place, implemented by employees chosen to fit the company’s needs?
Before the recession, when cash flowed freely, monitoring financial and job cost reports may not have seemed that important. Companies started paying attention to those numbers when things got tough, but many didn’t really have the ability to get good information. Why not commit to an accurate set of books, a reliable method of job costing, and a regular review of the numbers?
Yes, the recession was awful. But it also was a clear, if unwelcome, call to contractors whose internal weaknesses were being masked by a bloated economy. Now is the time to assess where you are currently and to plan where you want to go and how you’ll manage that growth.
—Leslie Shiner, owner and principal of The Shiner Group, has more than 20 years experience as a financial and management consultant. Melanie Hodgdon, owner of Business Systems Management, works with clients to generate realistic solutions that reflect the resources and style of their companies. They co-authored A Simple Guide to Turning a Profit as a Contractor.