Ceilings are a big reason why MAC6 exists. Every growth-oriented business hits one at some point on its journey. In those critical and stressful moments, especially for a business owner, two paths emerge: break through the ceiling or keep banging your head against it.
When a business leader chooses the first option, it’s often a scary ride into unchartered territory. Process changes, organizational adjustments, and even changes in physical workspace cause all sorts of upheaval in the organization as it prepares itself for its next phase of growth.
Owners who choose not to push through the ceiling often suffer from a stalling business. Because of their inaction, things fall into a routine that may feel comfortable, but there’s no momentum and energy to put the business on a growth trajectory.
While there are only two ways to respond to your business hitting a ceiling, the reasons why you hit one are many. In part 1 of this series, let’s examine two of the usual suspects. If you find any of these to be true of your business, it’s time to decide if you’re going to push through or keep banging your head against the ceiling.
Ceiling 1: Space
Physical workspace matters. Regardless of how flexible your remote working policy is, most businesses need a physical footprint of some kind. A manufacturer like Teaspressa needs a production facility and warehouse space. Video production companies like Pelican Media need a place to store gear and complete post-production work. Regardless of the industry, physical space is important to a growing business. It can also be a ceiling in and of itself. Take either of the businesses above. If a manufacturer needs to expand production or increase inventory, more space is required. When a video company adds staff or equipment, more square footage is necessary.
Because of these normal business situations, physical space can become a ceiling. Leaders must choose to expand their physical footprint and incur the additional expense (and financial stress) or stay where they are and cap their growth. This ceiling seems easy to push through on a rational level, but the reality is often difficult for growing businesses. How long will growth continue? How do you plan for the future when so much is unknown? Thankfully, flexible workspaces are emerging to take some of the guesswork out of decisions like these.
Though it’s often understated, the space ceiling is a very real concern for growing businesses.
Ceiling 2: Operating System
If you don’t know what an operating system is, that’s part of the problem. In short, an operating system is a formal and documented set of guidelines and tools that help position leadership and the organization at-large for ongoing improvement and daily operations. A lot of small businesses don’t see the need for a formal operating system until they feel the pains that come with growth. When organizations hit that growth ceiling, however, an operating system becomes critical for pushing past it.
How do you know if you need an operating system or which one to use? At MAC6 we use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®). There’s a great Organizational CheckupTM assessment you can take on the EOS® website. It gives you a heads up on how strong your organization is based on some of the tools used by companies that implement EOS®.
Even if you don’t take the assessment, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a budget for things and do you keep an eye on it?
- Is there a clearly defined accountability chart?
- Does everyone know the three things that set your organization apart from competitors?
- Can employees articulate your organization’s 10-year plan?
- Does everyone have at least one priority they’re working toward each quarter?
- Do employees have a “number” for which they’re responsible?
- Are the organization’s values clearly understood and are they used as a guide to hire, fire, and review employee performance?
- Have you clearly identified your ideal customer and are your marketing efforts locked onto it?
- Is your workflow or the process through which you take clients clearly documented in a way that helps sales efforts?
- Do you have any sort of measurement or scoring system for rating performance?
- Are there regular, timely meetings with employees and are the meeting agendas/objectives clear?
If you answered, “no” to ANY of these questions, there’s an opportunity to improve the operating system you have. If you answered “no” to ALL of the questions above, you really need to implement an operating system quickly if you hope to grow and scale. It’s something we can help with if you need it. Without an operating system in place, the ceiling will come very quickly and hitting it will hurt a lot.
Every business hits a ceiling at some point in their journey. The two we outlined above are just the beginning. In the second part of our ceiling series, we’ll discuss three additional ceilings businesses hit and what you can do about them.
Stay tuned for part 2…