Business growth doesn’t just happen. Scaling a business requires careful planning, commitment, and—most of all—teamwork. No one individual has the skills and resources needed to scale a business; it requires a team of professionals with complementary skill sets, all dedicated to the same vision and objectives. Of course, building the right team dedicated to the common goal of scaling your business can be difficult, but there are proven steps and processes that can help you succeed.
Importance of Team Collaboration
Team collaboration is clearly vital to scaling a business. Seventy-five percent of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important.” However, only 18 percent of employees are evaluated on their communication skills. Ninety-seven percent of employees and employers believe that a lack of alignment within a team has a direct impact on the success of a task or project. Furthermore, technology is becoming increasingly important to teamwork; 49 percent of Millennials support the use of social tools for collaboration, and 40 percent would be willing to pay for such services themselves.
Setting Your Team Up for Success
To set your team up for success when scaling a business, you have to start with a collaboration strategy and well-defined processes to make sure everyone is pulling together and is not pulling your operations apart. Here are a few of the steps to help you promote teamwork to support business growth:
Have a plan – Before you can create the right teams, you have to establish your goals. Determine your growth objectives. Are you looking to add a specific number of customers or revenue? Do you want to open new markets? Are you looking to expand with new products? How do you plan to scale your business? With growth goals in place, you can determine where to start building your teams.
Define teams and team objectives – Once you have outlined your overarching objectives, you will be in a better position to establish teams that can help you reach your goals. Define the types of teams you will need, including desired skills and personality traits. For example, do you need to build out your customer service team or your sales team? Do team members require specific skills? Is it better to build internal teams or to outsource? Determine the specific goals you want to assign to each team, including timelines, and determine how each team will help contribute to business growth objectives.
Establish team structures and responsibilities – Now you can establish specific responsibilities for team members. This is not a job description but rather a determination of how individuals contribute as team collaborators. How can they best contribute to the overall process? Also, determine the hierarchy of each team and what individual responsibilities are in relationship to the organization as a whole.
Pick the right people – To set up successful teams that will help you scale your business, you have to start with the right people. You may have team contributors already on your staff, or you may need to hire new people. Take advantage of individual strengths and weaknesses. For example, you may have an employee who is poor at completing specific tasks but who works well as a facilitator. Assess temperament and other characteristics and how they best fit in a collaborative group. Inventory core competencies and use them to your best advantage. You also may find you need to hire new team members to either work on site or remotely.
Build repeatable processes – You want to take as much of the guesswork out of business processes as possible. In order to scale, you need standardized, repeatable processes with appropriate delegation and tracking. Establish procedures and regular schedules for activities and reporting so that things run smoothly, no matter who is on the team. Repeatable processes are a foundation for scalable operations.
Measure what works – One of the advantages of establishing repeatable processes is it makes it easier to determine what is working and what isn’t. Processes will need to be refined and modified as operations scale, and well-defined processes make it easier to identify cracks in the system. As part of measurement, be sure to solicit feedback from the team. Giving participants a stake in the process and its outcome is necessary to promote successful teamwork.
Harness the right technology – Automating business processes such as customer relationship management is an ideal way to create repeatable business processes that are measurable. Technology also helps you bring together distributed resources, such as telecommuters and business partners. Cloud-based applications and online data storage make it easier to share files and information, and video conferencing, live chat, and other collaboration tools make it easy for the team to work together from any location.
When scaling a business, you need to be able to adapt as you grow. Business agility is the key to success, so you need to adjust your growth strategy to changing objectives, and you need to adjust the groups and collaborative processes that support it.
Keep Pace with Communication Needs
You also need to be sure your team communications can adapt to your evolving growth strategy. Equipping teams with tools that are familiar and versatile is a good approach. Smartphones, for example, have become a popular and versatile communications tool. Smartphones can handle video conferences, instant messaging, email, file transfer, and other collaborative processes in addition to phone calls.
As your business needs change, the smartphone can keep pace with new communications and collaboration requirements.
Spoke was developed to help communications and collaboration scale as businesses grow. Spoke extends the , converting employee smartphones into business phone extensions, complete with auto-attendant, smart directories, group calling, voicemail, and other services such as presence and call prioritization. Spoke lets your teams collaborate by phone and still have access to all the they need for maximum team productivity such as email and teleconferencing.
Scaling any business requires commitment and teamwork, and the easier you make it for teams to collaborate, the better the outcome of team efforts. Give your teams a clear direction, the proper instructions, and the right tools and you can continue to scale your business to new levels of success and profitability.