Small businesses often go through many changes, and some stick while some others don’t. When you’re beginning to feel the benefits and rewards of your business finally letting your spread your wings a bit, more and more options open up. There are lots of choices for you to pick from, whether it be putting more funding into research and development, creating and paying for more advertisements, taking on new staff, or simply moving to a new commercial office. However, the difficulty small businesses face is, they usually can only focus on one niche product at a time. You’re competing with the big boys, i.e. large multi-nationals which is why it’s so important for small business to be the leaders in innovation. This does lead to a few gaps in what your business can achieve on its own, leading to working with third parties. As your profits grow and your consumers begin to start showing their loyalty, it’s time to stop relying on others to do tasks for you. Expand your capabilities by creating a new department.
A new team with a cause
No one knows your business better than you do, and consequently, this decision of creating a new department falls on you alone. Of course, you should always consult your executives, i.e. board members for their opinion on where they think the most improvement is needed. If you’re torn, you can always commission reports from your board members which will work closely with the managers who are closer to the action on a regular basis. The bottom line is that there must be a real reason why you’re doing this and a good clear picture of what the new department’s activities and aims will be. The most common reason why some form of the new department might be made in a small business is because usually they lack a marketing team and give this responsibility to a third party. Other times it’s to make a department that will deal with a portion of your products and services because as the line of items you offer expands, one team will become overwhelmed. When the new department is created, the roles should be clearly laid out in an in a manifesto or creed so the new manager and board can distinguish its responsibilities from the other departments. This will also give the new team a purpose and modus operandi.
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Hiring and or merging
As with any new extension of the business, it cannot exist without the right amount of people as well as the quality of talent. This part is a little tricky as it can be a conundrum. You want to make sure you have stability whenever you’re creating a new department. Either as a tentacle or a branch of a tree, the new team will need resources, time, funding, space and their own logistical and administrative for their tasks. So either you need to put people into this department that you know and trust based off of their previous work with you, or hire new staff to fill the void. The best advice you’ll get is to have a blend, by shifting people from existing teams to the new department. Don’t take away leaders if you can at all help it as it leaves the team they have exited with a void of their own. It’s best to take talented regular employees from your current divisions are put them in a semi-leadership role in the new department. Hiring new people is always a gamble but in this kind of instance, it’s almost always a needs must situation. Take your time and evolve a thorough process to bring in the right kind of people who are not just skilled and may have a seasoned background, but also have the right mentality for what you want to achieve.
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The all-important ethos
Businesses all have their own sub-groups. For example, in a smartphone company, there will be the design staff that have a different thought process to the hardware staff. The IT and software specialists will also have a parallel attitude to the marketing team. This is why when you’re creating a new department it must have its own set of values that can and should differ from the rest, but still be in line with the overall business culture. It may sound simple at first because the clue is often in the name such as ‘research and development’ or ‘testing and inspection’ but what each department is set out to accomplish isn’t. A new product or service is always interpreted opposingly by the departments even though you’re all working together. Therefore by its very nature, the new department must have a set of values that read out like a manifesto or letter of creed. Be sure to put together a ‘statement of values, aims, and ethos’ declaration as this will allow you to show employees what their framework is.
Funding the plans
Nothing in life is free, and it will take a chunk of money to fund this new department. Even if you’re simply moving into a new room and it might just be down the hallway, it still needs to be funded like the rest of your business. If you do not want to dip into the company savings pot and would like to gather funds from outside sources, you should look at alternative commercial lending. This specialist company specifically works with small businesses and enterprises to supply them with the money they need. They work seamlessly, so any operations are not disrupted. They provide solutions for overdraft requirements, invoice finances, property finance as well as asset funding. Their bespoke solutions are tailored to the exact needs you require for your business. Professional advice such as this can help you to realise what is and isn’t feasible, so you don’t underestimate your ability to fund a project such as a new department or overstretch your financial balance. It’s not just resources that you need, but paying the salaries of new employees. As ever in business, you have to spend some money in order to make a profit.
Initial test of capabilities
Nothing in business is certain as much as we’d like to hope so. Your new department is also in a period of trepidation in the beginning. There’s no way to avoid this; it’s something all new teams and sections have to go through. You must be prepared to disband the department if it does not show promise after a period of time that is reasonable such as six months to a year. It’s really a race to iron out the creases before the problems begin to either cost money or take too long to be remedied while projects and tasks are going on. So, to curve around this an initial test of capabilities is the best way to go about it. Give your new department a task to undergo that mimics the responsibilities it will have once up and running. This could be to work with other departments, or on its own. Here you’ll see any cracks begin to form and the time to catch them early on. Certain members of the team may not get on with each other, which can cause major disruption in the formation of ideas as well as implement them. The human element is always present in business and leaders that overlook it will always pay the price. It’s not a mark against your name if you are figuratively holding their hand as they go along. Monitor the progress of the department and the job it has undertaken like a hawk. You should be doing this by giving an executive board member or high-ranking manager to oversee the department while still in its infancy.
The final report
After your new department has been formed, and the initial test of capabilities has been done seek a report from your managers. Ask them to write in detail what the positives and negatives are of the new team. Specially address whether the allocation of resources and financial support are enough to maintain the department indefinitely. Require a section in the report, to go into the teamwork efficiency levels and where the strength and weaknesses lie within each member and or process. Also, question whether the employees have taken on board the new ethos and are can comprehend through their actions what the department aims, values and ethos are. With this all-important report, you’ll gain an insight into how the newest extension of your business is working on a deeper level than just word of mouth.
Adding a new section to a business is a clear sign of success. Your business has gotten to a point whereby you need to expand in-house and have chosen to stop giving your tasks out to a third party. However, it’s a complex and sometimes laborious process as you have to be meticulous in your approach. Ask yourself why you have created this department and what role is it to play in your business. Work out whether or not you have the right amount of resources and funds available to make sure the team has all it requires. Hire the correct people with the talents and skills needed, but also those that can comprehend your company culture and aims.