The Journey of Building a Business
Over the last four years, Journey Consulting has grown an average of 45% per year. That is nothing that I had planned or expected, but grateful for the work that we are doing for our clients and the outcomes we are achieving. As with any growth organization, the key to supporting and sustaining growth is a strong team and scalable processes. When growing at such a rapid rate, both are difficult to create and develop to not impact client/customer quality and service. In fact, when these areas do not keep up with the growth, the culture and quality are the first areas to be impacted.
Because this is what we do for our client’s day in and day out, as opposed to sharing a client story, I’m going to share ours, as we experience the same challenges and opportunities that our clients do as they grow and/or transition their businesses.
Journey Consulting was started in October 2007 by Jayne McQuillan. The purpose of Journey Consulting was to partner with individuals and businesses on their journey of growth and profitability. As with any business, things change and evolve. As I said earlier, I never intended to grow this business beyond myself. However, having survived through the downturn between 2008-early 2010, I continued to learn, grow and build my business. Around 2014/2015, the business began to accelerate, and with it my capacity was more than 100% absorbed. It was at that time that I began to evaluate what I would do next.
With any business, there are critical decision points. This may be adding in key resources, deciding on an acquisition or divestiture, or even firing a key client. It is at these times that our businesses change from what they were to now something new. It is during these times of transition that are critical to the culture and processes within your organization. Do it poorly, and you will have negative results in quality, performance, and loss of key people. Do it well, and you will continue to grow.
It was at this pivotal point that I made a choice to grow and add my first employee. That was just two years ago. Today we are a staff of 5.
Again, consulting my clients through this process is one thing, but doing it within our own organization is another. I experience the same challenges of having employees that started before the growth really came and the environment/culture we had, to now figuring out how to navigate the impact of the growth and the changes on the organizations cost structure, people, culture, and communication.
Building and maintaining a strong team takes leadership, vulnerability and willingness to admit you don’t have all the answers. Growth is scary, but it’s also very rewarding when what you are building is providing opportunities for growth, development and challenges for those on your team. However, don’t forget that change is hard. No matter how exciting it may be, change requires new ways of doing things, and new ways of doing things require change.
Communication also changes. When it was just me in the business, I had great conversations with myself and I needed to only worry about myself. As I started adding team members, I needed to pay attention to their training, development, and my communication.
Understanding that as leaders we don’t have all the answers. It’s our job to bring in other outside resources to help us through the process, as well as engage our team members to define the change and how best to integrate the change. Our leadership will determine whether we will make it to the next level of growth.
As a Certified Exit Planning Advisor, I work with business owners that are planning for and/or exiting their businesses. In most cases, they have not done this before. Reaching out to experts to help you in these processes provides you, the owner, the opportunity to avoid some pitfalls and achieve greater success.
I like to think I take my own advice and use other resources to assist me in the growth of my business. When we are knee deep in our business day to day, we all have blinders. Use your team, use your network, use other outside experts to help you navigate the waters. It makes for a smoother ride!
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay