You’ve got the plans to expand your business, but have you got the people skills?


You’ve got the plans to expand your business, but have you got the people skills?


Last week we shared a great blog from EFM on what companies need to consider about expanding a business and dealing with mergers, acquisitions and funding requirements [click here to view].

The piece did a great job of setting out the processes that need to be in place when expanding our organisation and the importance of numbers and strategy. It really got us thinking at ValueMaker about the other side of the equation in these matters too. The people side.

Because while having the structures in place and the numbers aligned is essential, it’s also just as critical to make sure the people side of things are in a strong place too.

So how do you go about measuring the ‘human capital’ in your organisation and making sure you are in the right place to expand? When you hold a mirror to your own company, what is it you should be hoping to see?



Does your team have that ‘crackle’?

One of the things I enjoy most in my role is having the chance to visit lots of growing companies who have the potential to do great things and excite investors. But just as important to me as the figures and processes behind the scene is the ‘crackle’ among the team.

Crackle is what I call the energy that radiates from the team in everything they do, how they do it and the way they talk about it. It’s hard to explain on paper, but it’s something you learn to pick up through experience over the years. And it’s something investors sense too.

A team’s passion should shine through and as an owner or founder you should be feeling it. If you don’t sense others sharing the enthusiasm or belief you have, it’s probably time to evaluate either what you are doing or the people you have doing it.



Are your leaders responsible AND accountable?

One of the toughest things to balance as a company grows is making sure the key stakeholders or leaders feel accountable for what they do.

There’s an important difference between being responsible and feeling accountable. Some executives or leaders may take on responsibility for a department, plan or product, but are reluctant to be held accountable for the success or otherwise of it – always finding an exterior reason for failure that absolves them from blame.

For companies looking to expand this is of particular relevance. This reluctance to be accountable will become even more exposed if your organisation grows and the things they are responsible for increase in size. It’s often the elephant in the room, but if your key leaders are not stepping up here, the elephant will overwhelm you. Confront it head on before it’s too late.



Attitudes to change

Organisational change is always a delicate matter. Even the most progressive workers can find it hard to change a groove or routine. But the attitude shown to change is what matters.

Expanding your business, taking investment or being acquired will always result in major structural or process changes. Does your team have the right cultural attitude to cope?

Always make a note of how individuals in your company respond to change. Whether it’s their job role evolving or new project management techniques, the way they adapt (or fail to) will give you a good indication of how they will react to major expansion or investment in the future.

If too many of your key leaders or staff are resistant to change, you need to take care. It’s vital for success that your team is dominated by those willing to embrace change. Nothing saps moral like resistance to progress.



It’s about the pack, not the lone wolves

Combinations and chemistry forge success. Hiring great people is always a goal, but hiring people prepared and able to work together is even more vital. Just as sports teams packed with superstars don’t always do as well as a team of grafters, so the best CVs don’t make the best business.

When hiring trying to find out as much as you can about a candidate’s ability to work with others. And test out new hires as soon as possible with teamwork situations. Expanding your company will involve plenty of recruitment drives and possible mergers with other companies.

If your team is full of lone wolves, you’ll soon suffer for it.



Doers, not talkers

Language can reveal so much about leadership and potential. In fact, it may be the most crucial aspect of all.

Do your leaders talk about what they plan to do or do they talk about what they are doing? There’s a big difference. Expansion involves actions, not just words. Always measure up the language used by an employee against what they actually deliver.

Great ideas mean nothing if the person behind them can’t spark them into life.



Look inwards, before looking outwards

Few businesses build their success on a single great idea. Most companies that excel do so because they are built on the hard work and dedication of great teams.

If you want great business growth or investment, you need to make sure you put together highly able, highly motivated teams with an open and honest culture. Half the challenge is having a robust plan, the other half is how you deliver it.

Remember, due diligence isn’t something the best investors will run on your accounts and processes, it’s something they will also run on your team.

Will your’s pass?