Business Capabilities: Have you hit your growth ceiling? - Tilson


Business Capabilities: Have you hit your growth ceiling?

Strategy & Planning | May 2023

Written by: Brent R. Tilson, CEO and Owner

In the business world, growth is the ultimate goal. Every entrepreneur starts their venture with a vision of growth, expansion, and success. However, as a business grows, it’s not uncommon for it to hit a growth ceiling. A growth ceiling is a point where a business can’t grow further without making fundamental changes to its capabilities. In other words, the business has hit its limit and needs to develop new skills and capabilities to break through to the next level. In my book, “Go Slow to Grow Fast,” I explore this topic in-depth and provide insights into how to identify and overcome growth ceilings.

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face when trying to grow is that they often try to grow too quickly. Rapid growth can be exciting, but it can also be dangerous. Growing too fast can put a strain on the organization’s resources, overwhelm its employees, and lead to poor decision-making. Therefore, businesses ought to take a step back during periods of rapid growth to look at the big picture and establish a solid foundation that can support sustained growth in the long term.

To break through the growth ceiling, businesses need to focus on developing their capabilities. Capabilities are the skills, processes, and systems that a business needs to operate efficiently and effectively. Developing capabilities requires a deliberate and strategic approach, and it’s not something that can be done overnight. Businesses should focus on building capabilities in three key areas: talent, infrastructure, and culture.

  • Talent is a company’s largest expenditure, and you could argue the most important asset of any business. Hiring and retaining the right people is essential for sustained growth. Therefore, businesses should develop a robust talent management strategy that is broken down into five components of the employee life cycle: Find, Develop, Direct, Motivate and Retain. Hiring the right people is just the first step. Businesses need to provide comprehensive benefits, ongoing training and development opportunities to ensure that their employees have the skills and knowledge needed to perform their roles effectively.
  • Infrastructure is another critical area that businesses need to focus on to break through the growth ceiling. This includes physical, technological and internal operating systems necessary to run a business. It’s vital for a company’s internal operating systems to be integrated, scalable, and continuously improved in order to support growth long-term. Improving operational effectiveness while controlling costs can be challenging. Businesses have three options: DIY, multiple vendors, or outsourced managed solutions. Outsourced solutions, like professional employer organizations (PEOs), often provide more advantages than managing it themselves or with multiple providers. PEOs offer complete outsourcing solutions for HR needs, including payroll, benefits administration, risk management, and regulatory compliance, with scalable and continuously improved technology and professional support.
  • Culture is the third key area that businesses need to focus on to break through the growth ceiling. Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, and behaviors that define an organization. A strong culture can help attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and support the business’s growth. Therefore, businesses should invest in creating a positive and inclusive culture that aligns with their values and mission.

Years ago when I opened my first business, my own CPA firm, it didn’t take long for me to realize that many entrepreneurs can’t focus on their core business and skills while at the same time being pulled in many directions merely to run their business. Just hiring the first employee places ongoing pressures and demands that take them away from running their business. So, in 1995, I started Tilson to free them from this burden. For 28 years now I have been able to provide small to medium-size businesses with resources that have enabled them grow and thrive.

Take my 10-question business assessment and receive a free copy of my book, “Go Slow to Grow Fast” which provides valuable insights and practical advice for businesses that want to break through the growth ceiling and achieve long-term success.

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