08/07/2010

By Guy Rigby, Director & Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson

The key to success for growth businesses is in having the right mix of people and skills. To build your dream team you need to look at this mix in the broadest possible sense — both in and outside your business.

Staff and management

It may sound obvious, but you should start by considering whether you employ the best people you can afford. Despite the difficult job market, talented people in your workforce can still be lured away, so don’t ignore your rewards and incentives. Keeping your team informed about what’s going on in the business and how they can contribute will incentivise staff to work towards the business goals.

Non-executive directors

Many growth businesses suffer from a lack of experience, knowledge or expertise and regularly find themselves ‘reinventing the wheel’. With the help of an experienced non-executive director (NED) you can benefit from an objective perspective on your business and opportunities that you might otherwise overlook. NEDs can provide strategic input, sector expertise, new contacts, business intelligence and knowledge about competitors, or perhaps high level banking or financial expertise.

External advice

In order to make the transition from a smaller business to one with more than, say, 20 people, it’s often helpful to bring in experts with relevant business experience, particularly in managing teams and effective project management. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Some challenges require complex and specialist advice, particularly in areas outside the knowledge or comfort zone of your own management team. In these circumstances, there is no real alternative to getting external expertise on board. The key here is to find the right individuals in professional firms that you like on a personal level and who are willing to take the time to understand both you and your business.

Bankers

Access to funding is essential for most businesses, so maintaining a good relationship with your bank is likely to be more critical than ever. You’ll no doubt be reviewing interest rates and charging structures, but make sure your bank is still the right fit for your business.

Invest time and energy into communicating with your bank, treating it as an integral part of your team. Trust is crucial here and bankers who know you well and understand your needs and objectives are more likely to be able to assist in the event of cash flow difficulties or other problems.

Working together

Finally, it’s important to consider whether your internal and external teams work well together? Be open on long-term objectives, define roles for key projects clearly and update everyone regularly so they understand the status and ongoing needs of your business. And make sure everyone talks to each other. A successful and communicative team will create firm foundations and help your business thrive.

If you would like to talk about taking your business to the next level, call Guy Rigby on 020 7131 8213 or email guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk.

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