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From small acorns: the people challenges of growing a business
12 June 2017

   written by Neill Clark of Network Hero

This week we consider the people challenges faced by Entrepreneurs and Managing Director’s when developing and growing a business.

A new business usually starts with an idea that the entrepreneur has. He/she creates the product, sells it, further enhances it, produces more, sells more and working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, decides that they should hire some people to help make the product and sell it. Before they know it, they have a business with several staff!  They stop spending all their time doing what they are good at and want to be doing and start having to deal with people challenges….

So, what is it they need to know about people? There is a need to comply with ever changing legislation but, more importantly, there is the need to ensure that what they have built thus far is sustainable and capable of further growth. They know the product, they know the market and the changes within it now and projected for the future - they know they need more people and they know they are spending more time on people issues than they are on what they are good at and what they enjoy. The skills needed to grow a business are not the same ones that helped you launch it.

Typical issues might include:

1. Leadership

  • How can I demonstrate effective leadership
  • How do I build an effective management team that I can rely on and delegate to

2. Recruitment

  • How do I find, attract and hire the right staff, with the right skills for the business today and tomorrow
  • Are we paying staff appropriately for the market
  • What types of contract should I hire staff on – should I consider zero hours contracts
  • What needs to be in the employment contract and what cannot be in it
  • What questions can I/can’t I ask during recruitment interviews
  • what proof do I need that I can employ an individual

3. Strategy and communication

  • Do I have a vision for the future and have I shared it with all staff
  • Do we have a distinctive and consistent culture that we want to retain? If so what are we doing to retain it, or if we want to change it what are we doing to make that happen
  • What impact will Brexit have on my business and staff, and what should I do about it

4. People Management

  • How do I ensure that all aspects of employment practice are fully compliant with the ever changing law
  • How do I develop new and existing staff
  • How can I improve productivity
  • I am delegating tasks to individuals, but are they trained, capable and ready to take on bigger responsibilities? Can they be developed, or do I need to hire functional managers rather than generalists
  • How do I ensure that bad hiring decisions are dealt with in a legally compliant and caring manner
  • What can I say in “difficult” conversations, and can I outsource it
  • Do we have a staff retention issue, if so do we know why
  • If I buy another business to facilitate growth, what about the staff within it

If any of these issues are facing you and your business why not speak with our Network Hero organisation. We have a number of fully experienced HR practitioners who have worked in a variety of businesses and are seeking to help smaller companies grow using their previous experiences to ensure that it is done with the minimum of fuss with a clear focus on the commercial realities facing start-up businesses. All of our consultants are fully qualified and have worked with Boyes Turner for a number of years and can be deployed for a particular project, review or on an ongoing part time basis. 

To get in touch with Network Hero, please contact Barry Stanton of the Employment team on [email protected] or call us on 0118 952 7284.

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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