First, design your business - then grow into it

First, design your business - then grow into it

Thomas Watson, the father of IBM, was once asked how he built his company into the structure it became – because, he said, “I planned that structure from day one”.

Most small businesses, if they have a structure, build it only to suit their current needs. Consequently, a few people are designated to fill all the roles so the structure is defined by the individuals and not by the tasks they do. As this becomes ingrained over time it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to separate the two.

In this situation, growth is limited by the capacity of an individual who cannot (or is not willing to) give up many of the things that define who they are within the business.

So, instead of defining your business by the people within it, design your business as you want it to look when it reaches maturity - then grow into it!

At First On The Beach we work with "ACORN" businesses, based on the understanding that every tiny acorn already contains the necessary DNA to produce the entire oak tree.

And, as you grow into your business be prepared to fix things along the way. But don’t wait for the cracks to appear – by then, it’s probably too late.

Do successful, top level business owners have fewer problems? No, the opposite is true. The people at the top have more problems. The reason they have more problems is because they actually go looking for them. Imagine two people - one goes for a regular health check and the other one doesn’t. Who’s likely to uncover more health problems or potential health problems? But who is the one in control of the problems or the potential threats?

So, go looking for problems and empower your staff to do the same. Regularly talk to your staff and customers. Is it possible that staff within your business have problems, have thoughts and feelings that are wrong or just negative, but they don’t tell anyone? Is it possible that some customers don’t like certain aspects of your products or services? Of course it is, but the mere fact they don’t tell you is not a fact to be ignored.

Uncovering problems that can be turned into opportunities is a normal part of growing your business but, in the end, there are only two types of problems – real and imagined. Be careful which ones you choose to wrestle with. Guess which ones most people tackle? That’s right, things that have never happened and are never likely to happen.

And, once you’ve determined the real problems, ask yourself if they’re controllable or uncontrollable. Can you do something about them? If you can, make the changes necessary. If you can’t, don’t waste your resources. A simple example is the state of the economy... are you in a position to influence this - probably not. Instead, look at the consequences for you and your business and change those things you can control.


David Floyd

First On The Beach 


When’s a good time to start? Tomorrow is too late. Yesterday is over. So, now is exactly the right moment to start.


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