If you’re looking to get your company expanding, it can sometimes feel like you’re banging your head on a brick wall, even if you’re following so-called tried and tested approaches. That’s why we’ve put together a series of articles offering you insights from experts who have successfully grown their own businesses. We’ve focused on providing advice that is simple to follow, yet deeply effective.
For this first article in the series, we asked Paul Halliwell, founding MD of TalkTalk, to give his wisdom on the key to growing a business. In Paul’s opinion, the answer is really rather straightforward – it’s all about focus.
Watch the full interview here:
Watch the full Growth Hacking Videos Series.
Don’t focus on the wrong things
Paul says that too many business owners focus on things that aren’t key to their success. This is very easy to say of course, but we can assume that no one believes they’re actually paying attention to the wrong things, or they wouldn’t be doing it. So how can you know whether you’re devoting your time and energy to the best possible activities – and what should you be focusing on if not?
Something you can look at is the tasks that key people in your organisation are doing. For example, as the business owner, are you getting heavily involved in things like marketing and accounting, or are you spending your time on the bigger picture and strategy? Is everyone in the company focusing on the areas in which they excel, and will therefore help the business grow?
In Paul’s words, ‘there just aren’t that many hours in the day – if you end up being the man who takes the bins out, or worries about the bookkeeping, then you’re not going to be keeping your hands on the levers of the things that are going to make your business more valuable’.
Focus on the right things
If you’re guilty of not having your people, including yourself, doing the jobs that will best help your business grow, it might be time to re-evaluate who does what. As Paul says, ‘a lot of people find themselves worrying about things that are not really the core things that are going to make the business bigger’.
Needless to say, if you make adjustments to the roles of your key team members, you may find that some duties are no longer allocated to anyone. And if your company is still so small that the founders are doing a little bit of everything, you might need to consider bringing someone new in, or outsourcing certain tasks. This can be costly in the short term, but it won’t be as damaging as seeing your business fail because individuals aren’t working to their core strengths.
Be prepared to constantly adapt
Another thing to consider is that as your business grows, you will bring in new roles, technologies and processes to make it work as well as possible – but over time some of these may become obsolete or inefficient, making your business unnecessarily complex to manage. According to Paul, ‘if you start to build and you find yourself with lots of products, lots of little teams, cutting some of that away – keeping a real focus on what adds the value – really helps’.
It’s necessary to constantly re-assess the state of your business. Hard though it may be, you need to be ruthless in appraising which resources remain relevant and will therefore help your company to continue growing, and which have to be done away with to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Keep it simple
There are two key messages from Paul when it comes to bringing focus to your business – make sure your people aren’t doing tasks that prevent them from devoting their attention to the core value they bring, and don’t allow your operations to become over-complicated with unnecessary people and processes.
If you can keep these things in mind, and continue applying them as you go along, you’ll be well on your way to generating sustained growth for your business.