Growing Pains of a Business
23 January 2023
Simeon Chapman, Director, talks candidly about his, sometimes painful, experience of growing a business.
“When my son was a teenager he developed Osgood Schlatter’s disease. This condition is where there is significant pain in ligaments, as the tibia hasn’t finished growing and isn’t quite strong enough to withstand the strain on it.
Our business, which has been growing since its launch in 2008, is also teenager and has been experiencing some of those painful symptoms too.
As the business grows, there is a challenge to all entrepreneurs, to face up to their role and focus on changing with the background knowledge that we are all ‘promoted to our own level of incompetence’.
“There is a challenge to all entrepreneurs, to face up to their role.”
These challenges have included: managing more people and all that comes with it, recruitment, training and development, welfare and appraisals – much of which is learnt as you grow. It has been vitally important to find the right people/consultants to help us with such areas as HR support, marketing as well as recruiting the right people for the right role.
Recognising our own strengths and weaknesses – and being vulnerable about those – has been a big a key to our growth. This happens at different stages of the business and as we approach have 30 staff it appears that we are being stretched again. Another growth-spurt.
“Recognising our own strengths and weaknesses – and being vulnerable about those – has been a big a key to our growth.”
As this new growth occurs, we’re having to learn to take a step back from certain areas and trust others to do what we have once done. In truth, they often do it better than us, if we will only allow them to work to their strengths. We have certainly seen this in the areas of compliance and operations, where growth has been abundant because of our actions in empowering our team to take the lead. We would encourage other business leaders to do the same.
“As this new growth occurs, we’re having to learn to take a step back from certain areas and trust others to do what we have once done.”
We have often undertaken strategy days and are about to embark upon another. Our focus this time will be operations. As a growing firm, with our ligaments stretching, we want to ensure we not only maintain but improve our standards of service and quality. These strategy days generally take the form of 3 sessions:
- What is – This is a “brutal honesty” session about what’s good and what’s not so good in the business, at this point in time.
- What could be – A dreaming session with no boundaries or limits.
- What will be – A pragmatic session resulting in some SMART goals, designed to take us to some focused dreams.
Thinking and reflective time away from the office together is very productive – not making time for this is not smart. As with my son, who is no longer a teenager but in his mid-20s, the pains are gone and another set of challenges appear,” concludes Simeon.
Hazelton Mountford are an independent provider of business insurance, private clients’ insurance and a tenant referencing service. Established in 2008, the team remain people-centric and always treat clients in accordance with their core values: Personal Service, Expertise and Integrity.
To find out more about the local firm and how to enter a career in insurance with them, please click here.
Contact Simeon direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As seen online at the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.