There are many reasons why someone starts a business. Many use their technical skills as the foundation for their business model. For some, starting their own business was an entrepreneur’s dream. And for others, it was a matter of circumstance, not necessarily by choice. But, no matter how you started your company, one thing is consistent among all repair shop owners: unless you plan on staying small, the growing pains of growing your business can be overwhelming.
All companies go through evolving stages: startup, growth, expansion and eventual succession. In the startup stage, you, the shop owner, are in the trenches every day. You control most of the day-to-day operations and every decision and event involves you.
The startup stage can be exhausting. It’s the phase often called survival mode, and for a good reason. In this phase, problems and issues arise daily, even hourly. For new shop owners, each day is a day to learn, improve and make course corrections. However, stress, anxiety and burnout will occur if you are in this phase too long.
Eventually, most business owners realize that to grow, they must do things differently. They understand that the financial side of the business is critical. Employee involvement becomes another essential component. For many, reaching out and networking within the industry becomes vital in expanding their business knowledge.
As a shop owner, you easily relate to the early stages of business. However, moving out of the startup phase has its own set of issues. As your business evolves, you will find that you may not be in total control anymore, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Relying on systems, procedures and your employees becomes a sound strategy for sustained success. With due diligence and correct planning, things begin to come together as you continue to move forward into the following phases: growth and expansion. Whether you decide to continue to grow your one location or add more stores to your enterprise, it won’t be your lack of knowledge that becomes the biggest obstacle in your business journey. Instead, the people you surround yourself with will become the prime reason for either failure or success.
To continue growing your company, you must develop your leadership skills and build a superstar team. And while it may not be easy at first, letting go and allowing the people you put into place to do their job is another critical strategy. However, don’t fear. Letting go brings out the best in others. Trusting others makes them flourish in their positions, which helps to elevate them and your company to new levels. I am not suggesting absentee ownership, but the better your business runs without you, the more successful your company will become.
Another thing to consider is your eventual exit from the business. Building a superstar team must be part of your exit strategy. Your business is worth more when you, the owner, are not directly needed in the day-to-day.
One thing to be aware of as you grow your company: If you believe you cannot find the right people, that no one can do their job as well as you can, get over yourself. If this is your mindset, the one who will hold you back will be yourself.
The bottom line is this, if your plans include continuous growth and expansion, your biggest growing pains will be the people you employ if they are not the right fit for your company. Combining poor leadership with employing the wrong people will prevent you from achieving your long-term business goals. The better job you do at hiring and managing the right people, the more successful you will become.