After you get your business off the ground, there may come a point when the strategies you used in the past stop working. If you want to achieve further small business growth, you need to change your approach or you could run into serious problems. Tom Kellogg of ParsonsKellogg explains how he got over these growing pains to take his business from $5 million in sales to $27 million in 2016.
Specialize Employee Roles
At the beginning, ParsonsKellogg had a somewhat informal structure for employee roles. "Whenever we had a big order or a department needed help, it was basically all hands on deck," Kellogg recalls. For example, employees from the finance department would pitch in at the warehouse.
"As we got bigger, I noticed that some employees were much better at jobs than others, and it just made sense for them to specialize. For example, some salespeople only focus on prospecting for new business while others only handle account servicing."
Learn to Delegate
One of Kellogg's biggest challenges was learning to delegate jobs to his employees. "Often I would see a job and automatically start to do it myself," he explains. But Kellogg had to get over this habit in order to ensure that his company kept growing.
"Sometimes it takes a little longer to teach an employee to do a job versus just doing it, but teaching someone is the only way for them to mature into a role." Today, Kellogg makes sure his directors follow the same philosophy for their departments.
Find Quality People
Kellogg believes ParsonsKellogg kept growing because he found so many talented employees. As the company expanded, he always looked for new opportunities to promote from within. For example, Kellogg's former bookkeeper is now the finance director.
ParsonsKellogg also offers internship programs through local colleges, which bring in a steady pipeline of new talent. Finally, Kellogg highly recommends employee referrals. "Our great employees usually know other great people, the type who will succeed here," he notes. "For instance, it's not uncommon for our many Providence College grads to recommend former teammates and classmates for roles here."
Automate as Much as Possible
As your business gets bigger, you need to become increasingly efficient by automating and standardizing tasks. ParsonsKellogg uses a guide that lays out the entire process for every department after they make a sale. This helps everyone process things more quickly and with fewer errors.
Focus on Quality Growth
As your company expands, Kellogg reminds you to focus on quality growth. Companies run into problems when they sell too fast and take on jobs that don't make sense. "We managed to grow over the years by focusing on partnerships where there's a clear positive return and we get along well with the client," Kellogg says. "Companies that only focus on top-line sales growth are setting themselves up for trouble."
Don't let your company hit a wall from growing pains. When you follow Kellogg's advice, you can help your business achieve its own small business growth goals.
ParsonsKellogg was a client of ADP, LLC. at the time of this article's publication.
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