16 March 2006

Managing the issues of growth

In a small service business, problems tend to be bipolar:
  • how will you sell your time?
  • how will you deliver your existing contracts?
As a single practitioner you are either delivering the work or trying to find opportunities to sell. Total focus on a single activity prevents you from doing the other. Can you balance your time effectively, or should you bring someone in to help develop the business? In that sense, growing the business from 1 person to 2 represents a strategic rather than an operational change. You have now acquired the capacity to sell at the same time as you are involved in delivery. As an organisation you can be in 2 places at once. Steadier growth becomes possible.

Working as part of a team, rather than simply as an individual, has all kinds of other benefits - you will perform better at both sales and delivery - you will challenge each other to think harder about the problem at hand. Clients benefit and they tell their friends. You have begun to create a virtuous circle.

The question for the single practitioner is not whether you can afford to bring someone else into the business - it is whether you can afford not to do so.

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