Having worked with global corporates, high street retail (no that doesn’t mean I worked at Topshop…), the public sector and independents, I am well placed to make some comparisons.
One thing I noticed from working in a large organisation and then with smaller, was that visions, missions and values were strangely, perhaps, more closely followed. I put this down to the figurehead and internal communications with no room for ambiguity. The MD or CEO is often ‘announced’ in to their position from a superior background of experience giving renewed hope for all. This ‘fresh blood’ is not dissimilar to when a football team gets a new manager, there’s apprehension and excitement to see what might happen overall. Will they sit back and observe a while or jump right in with a load of ‘this is my gaff now’ style changes?
Will company culture be protected or will all staff be expected to follow like sheep to their new shepherd/ess?
Usually, the consistency of this figurehead gives a perfect role model for company which is usually observed most clearly in Townhall or staff meetings.
There’s often a real stark difference with smaller businesses that are still growing, it’s just assumed that everyone knows what the company stands for as most people have been there from its inception or trained by people who were.
This can only go on for so long though as when the company reaches a tipping point in terms of employees to serve customers, things change. Communication goes awry, consistency of communication is reactive and accountability for reviewing progress is often shirked. Performance reviews are neglected or just held in the pub in order to retain the essence of the original company but it can’t continue at the same level in order to create stable growth. Some companies have done this growth phase beautifully and the MD/CEO really has nailed the stability, it’s a very elegant thing to observe and completely admirable.
Here are some elements that larger corporates do well where small businesses could learn a little to support stable growth:
A lot of this has to do with vision overall. Vision for employment, vision for customers and vision for competitive advantage.
If you have vision and can see your end goal, you can risk mitigate and you can involve everyone on that journey with you so there is a contingency for as many potential circumstances as possible.
Plan ahead with managed budgets
Larger companies don’t just have one massive budget that they look at, at the end of the year. They break it down by quarter and month and know where they are at along the way which enables accountability again back to specific areas and stabilises growth. Actually, in a lot of SMEs, the financial control is very good in most areas but appalling for marketing. Marketing is an afterthought and a massive tick box department with some crayons and paper. This lack of focus on outgoings and incoming return leaves holes for growth to disappear down.
Review periods for marketing in particular are often neglected, if KPIs are even set. They are put off because people see them as intangible or ‘fluffy’ which affects human ability to really get to grips with their delivery. If reviews are set and not cancelled and accountability is hand in hand with consistency, this can become a secret weapon for stability longer-term.
It’s so easy to potter along in your own little way thinking that because you know what’s going on in the company, everyone else does too. They don’t. Especially if you aren’t there much or you don’t have a well-timed and relevant update process. You need to find a way to get everyone on the journey with you and still get the outcomes you need.
Take staff on the journey alonside you and you’ll never look back.
Fancy a chat about your growth and building stability longer-term? Get in touch http://www.gemmaangharad.com/vision