I have worked with quite a number of start-ups over the years. Helping a start-up or a small business break through the ‘small business ceiling’ is not just about handing pages of policies and strategies to the business enterprise, for the short and long-term.
It is most of the time about the entrepreneur’s willingness to get off the ground. It’s about the owner’s readiness. It’s about having a vision yourself. It’s also about passion for what you do and the zeal to take it to the next level. Beyond these, the policies, strategies, prudent financial management can only make you an effective and efficient small business.
Knocking on doors each day for sales, waking up early and staying up late just to see your business move from a small shop to bigger office and from two orders a month to ten a month, requires passion.
The businesses which have succeeded in breaking this seemingly unbreakable ceiling are those whose owners set out to break it. They are often the ones who receive consultants like us very well, knowing that we are here to add value. Often, they see beyond the personalization of the business and welcome systems proposed to them. They realize and accept the need to run as a business (a set of systems, procedures and people working towards a coming goal), rather than a subsistent lifelong chore.
This understanding and acceptance is critical to making a difference between selling rice in a small shop in your neighborhood and selling rice to consumers in restaurants across different regions of the country. Several factors account for the growth of small businesses into big businesses. However, an underlying element is the owner’s vision and willingness to get the business beyond the small business tag. Such vision drives a sense of urgency and purpose throughout the business. It permeates the attitudes of staff, suppliers and even clients. Soon, you begin to see the results.
And yes, the growth can be very sharp for some companies and gentle for others. Keeping in mind your vision to grow and committing everything to it yourself is the critical ingredient.