Growing your business requires you to not only think differently but act differently as well. In this video, I help you learn what it’s going to take for you to move from just a few employees to having a company with fifty or more people working with you. Why don’t you watch the video and let me know what you think in the comments below?
Today, we’re going to have a conversation about what it takes for you to run a company that has 50 employees. Now, once you to learn the skills for 50 employees, you probably can get to 100 or 200 employees. It’s some of the things that I had to learn when I was in my vending company in 1976, when I started, and it took me to about 1982 or ’83 to learn what we’re going to talk about over the next five or six minutes.
Hi, I’m Josh Patrick. I’m the founder here at AskJoshPatrick. One of the questions I get a lot is “How do I have the skills to make my business grow and become sustainable?” Well, at the end of this video, I hope you’ll find the answer to that.
Where you are today.
So, here’s where you probably are now. You’ve got a great company right now and you want to grow it but there’s a problem. The problem is you’ve been doing everything yourself. Now, you might have a few staff members but they’re more helpers and associates. They really pitch in to help. And what you do is you tell them what to do. It is very directional. You say, “Do this, do this, do this, do this.” They’re really more helpers to you than they are independent workers doing their own thing.
So, that’s what we all do to get our business started. But as we grow, there are some different skills you need to do. So, the first challenge you’re probably going to have in a business that’s really small is getting to around 10 employees. You know, at 10 employees, you’re going to have to learn how to delegate tasks. You’re going to have to learn how to be clear about what you want them to do. If you have clear values in your company, it becomes a lot easier to do and you’ll have some more clarity about this.
Stage 1, stop being a worker bee.
You’re going to be moving from being what we call a worker bee, where you’re doing all the work yourself, to more of a manager. Now, you might do some of the work yourself and you’re likely to do some of the work yourself but you really want to be thinking about, “How can I start becoming the manager? How can I start helping the people who work with me become better at what they are? How can I free up my time so I can help make the business grow into the next step?”
So, one of the things that I learned really early in my business career is what I call EIA. It was taught to me by my first mentor, Shields Harvey. Shields said, “Look, here’s what you need to do. You need to expect what you want. You need to inspect to make sure you get it. And then you need to accept it.” He said, “Now, there’s a problem with that. The E and the A are really easy. It’s that I where you’re going to have the challenges.” So, if you can learn to inspect and do it on a systematic basis, you’re likely to get the results you want. If you don’t inspect, guess what, you’re not going to get those respect. And you need to start learning – at this part in your life, how to build trust, mindfully, with your customers, with your employees and with your suppliers. So, when you combine trust with EIA, you start moving to the skill set you need to grow your business past 10 employees.
The final thing you’re going to need to learn, at this stage, is to start appreciating mistakes. Now, none of us like making mistakes but the fact is mistakes are how we learn and you’re going to make mistakes. And guess what, your employees are going to make mistakes. Don’t be like me. Don’t blame your employees when they make mistakes. Ask them this very simple question, “What did you learn?” and stay with it until you get a reasonable answer.
The move to having 25 employees.
So now, let’s move on to what it takes to get to about 25 employees. You know, at 25 employees, you’re not going to be the direct supervisor of everybody. You can’t manage 25 people effectively so you’re going to start putting people you’re going to call likely supervisors in place. Now, you don’t treat these as supervisors or they’re just your helpers but actually real managers and hold them responsible for what you want them to do, you’re starting to build the skills that go past 25 employees.
You’re still going to be doing a lot of directing at this point and that’s what most people do. But if you can start moving away from directing, you can start moving towards where you’re asking great questions, you’re going to have a choice and you’re going to start having your managers actually be responsible for their own areas and not depend on you for all of the answers. And this really comes down to how well you’ve done with trust to make this piece work.
Moving to 50 or more employees.
Now, let’s talk to get to the point of the whole video which is “How do we get to 50? Or how do we get to 100? Or how do we get to 200?” Once you’ve learned the skills, you get to 50. Pretty much, you’re going to have the skills to go past that to 100 or 200 employees.
But getting to 50 is where you get to learn, if you’ve got what it takes to build a sustainable business. No longer are you doing coach. You’re no longer managing direct workers. You’re now managing managers. And the managers have to be held responsible for their areas and they have to be responsible for producing the results that you want.
You need to have your managers be part of your solutions. In other words, they’re going to know more about their area than you are. So, instead of going out and telling them “They’re jerks. They don’t know what they’re talking about. How can they be so dumb?” Stop that. Instead, ask them questions and then dig down on those questions. Get to the root cause. Help the managers learn what they really need to do. And you do this by asking great questions. Coach your managers into asking questions of their people.
If you’re really brave, you’re going to start treating all of your employees as experts at their jobs. Now, I know this is kind of a silly concept or you might think it’s a silly concept but the fact is, the people doing the work, know more about your customers, know more about what you’re doing, know more about their job and their area than you’re ever going to know. So, instead of telling people what you want, we set standards but then we ask people good questions on what it takes to achieve these standards. Start enrolling the people who are doing the job and solving the problems that come up and they always come up.
Time to become strategic.
Now, you’re going to want to start spending most of your time on strategic activities and stop being tactical. I call this “Moving to Stage 2”. You know, Stage 1 managers really are doing stuff with their hands. They’re directing the exact work that’s being done. They’re really just trying to get stuff out the door and getting cash in. You need to do that to make your company initially successful.
But if you’re going to make your business sustainable, you need to move from that tactical work to doing most of the work you do as strategic. Strategic is designing systems, helping your people decide what’s important, making sure that people in your company are doing those important things.
But you really need to stop being tactical. And what that’s going to lead to is what I call operational irrelevance which means you, as the owner, are out of the day-to-day operations of the business. You’ve got people who are doing that well and you get to focus on what’s going to make the business better and what makes the business great.
At 50 employees you start to really have fun running your business.
Now, I can tell you from personal experience that once we got to that stage in our business, it got to be really fun. I only had to do things I was really good at. It was in my core competency. It was a joy to go to work every day. It wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t doing things I didn’t like but I had to do well. That’s what you do when you get your business started.
Once you get to over 50, those days are over. You better be hiring people to do your weaknesses really well and make your strengths world class. So, those are the things that you can start with to make your business get to 50 employees. Once you get to 50, there’ll be some new skills you’re going to need to learn but they’re not as hard to learn as the ones that got you from 0 to 50.
So, I have an offer for you. It’s something that I wrote. It’s an e-book called Relationships and Roles. It talks about the four roles that you, as a business owner, can do. Now, you can be either a player, a coach, a general manager, or an owner.
And when you get to 50 employees, you’d better be spending all your time as a general manager and owner. If you’re still doing the tactical stuff, you’re likely going to have the business kind of explode and have huge cashflow problems. I don’t want that to happen to you. I do want you to do the roles appropriately in your business and do it right.
So, download the free e-book. I’ll bet you’ll like it. And if you don’t, you can let me know. But if you do like it, send me an e-mail.
So, thanks a lot for stopping by today. And again, I’m Josh Patrick. You’re at AskJoshPatrick and I appreciate the time you spent with me.