11/05/2015

By Kevin Uphill, Chairman of Avondale


As a business owner - you've seen your company grow from a startup, you know how everything runs, where all your staff are during work hours, and you're on a first name basis with all of your clients. You love this familiarity with your business, and your personal involvement is what keeps it unique, but your time is stretched, and as you continue to grow it becomes increasingly harder to keep track of everything, let alone find time to work on new strategies to grow your business.

A recent business growth survey commissioned by Avondale revealed that 68% of business leaders surveyed said they spend most of their time managing their business meaning the remaining 32% of leaders spend their time concentrating on strategy. Does this mean that those focusing on management are putting themselves in a position that could mean they are impeding their business' long-term growth?

Committing to a new business and starting it is one of the biggest steps you can take as an entrepreneur, the thought of not overseeing every aspect of your business can be daunting. Furthermore, trusting another person to not slip up and ruin all of your hard work seems like a large step. But think of how much time you spend every day doing tasks that could easily be delegated; phone calls, keeping on top of emails, rota organisation. You could undoubtedly put this time to better use, and begin setting back time to focus on the future and growth of your company rather than focusing on the day to day tasks.

During an exclusive roundtable hosted by Avondale, Anton Syrocki, Partner at Moore Stephens, observed that entrepreneurs can often fail to relinquish control, as they work so closely to their business it can be hard to let go. He commented, "A lot of entrepreneurs are unable to delegate due to their own ego which does create a problem in that it can hinder their business growth."

Many business owners will agree that having a strong management team in place will allow their companies to steadily grow. However, looking at the growth versus survival report, 94% of business leaders claimed they struggle to retain middle management.

Investing in middle management can pose risks, especially for younger companies with a high turnover of staff. It isn't seen as beneficial to spend money training a staff member who may leave the company within two years. Craig Richardson, Partner at PHD Equity Partners notes "Businesses are reliant on management team but they are reluctant to invest in them as they are protective of their own business as it grows."

The trick to sourcing the right second tier management is to find somebody who shares the same ethos as the company, obviously as the founder you have this from the outset. When bringing somebody in from the outside, it can take a while for them to become fully invested in the business.

But retaining middle management and freeing up time to focus on new strategies can mean the difference between your company simply surviving, or achieving substantial growth. It could be that the key for these companies to progress into growth mode is securing a reliable second tier management so they can focus on, develop and amend, their business strategy.

Avondale's report found that 33% of UK businesses are failing to grow and are in state of survival. It is becoming increasingly clear that the key route to growth in your business is trying new techniques and that in order for business leaders to free up their time to focus on these new growth strategies for their companies, it's imperative that they address the lack of middle management. It's time to stop looking at your business as yours, and look in from the outside; if it wasn't your business what would you change? Take the risk, build up your management team, invest less of your time in running the company and more in strategy. You'll accelerate your company growth and thank yourself in the long run.