By Rajat Sahu, Head Global Marketing, EScan
In the recent past, I have had brushes with few decision makers of SME businesses across verticals. And one question kept coming from all is that, we have an excellent business and we have grown exceptionally till now, however to grow further from here seems to be a challenge? On deep probing, one thing came out clearly is that how to ‘TRANSFORM THE BUSINESS’ and TRUST someone else to guide them professionally in the right direction is a challenge. However, the core remains to ‘TRUST’ an outsider for their BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION or GROWTH.
Many business owners started from scratch in an adverse and non-conducive environment and have done quite well till now. This puts them in a position not to look outside. The fact is that apart from being the center of their own business, they hardly get out to seek, learn and adapt to the new changing environment of business.
Secondly, as they have succeeded using their own judgments, decisions, skills in their respective fields of business till now, they become the last word for any decision. This in turn puts them in the back foot with the growing business changes outside. Some of them refuse to accept, while some of them are apprehensive and some express the willingness to reluctantly adapt and accept change by an outsider.
Above all, the key remains that all decision made when small was easy to manage for failures and small failures did not bother as the growth was faster than the failed decisions. Also, it has little impact on revenues and growth. However, as you scale up, the need for professionals become inevitable and choosing the right consultant, mentor, expert becomes difficult. This is because the owner starts judging from a close mind set of his own experiences of failures or his own experience of success in his specialized field – which is indeed the biggest mistake.
For example, if you are a highly skilled technical person and have built a strong technology company, going ahead you will need a strong technical person to support you in the development and you yourself need to start going out to sell. As a product developer, you are the right person to convince with enthusiasm to customers and address any product or service related queries more systematically while learning to add new feature demands from the customer. This also helps you to enhance and learn on the ground as in how the industry is trending as well as customer behavior towards a particular product or service. We have real-life examples such as Ranbaxy, Marico and the recent case of Infosys – where the founder has stepped out for a better choice to mantle the business ahead.
As I discussed these examples with the founders of the businesses, it became more clear that when you have reached to the peak of your potential as a small business and want to take to the next level, you will need to step aside from day-to-day business operation and start delegating tasks and decisions, so that you get more time to introspect, strategize for the next level of growth and direction. The founder, then, needs to move swiftly from thinking like a manager to thinking like a leader. After all, business transformation is all about stepping out from the core or center to periphery of the business to realign the vision and direction.