Blog · Apr 22, 2015

Business Growth Strategies: Byron Hamburgers – Making The Boat Go Faster

Business Growth Strategies

Achieving business growth is a significant challenge for many businesses. Achieving consistent business growth, over many years, in a crowded and competitive sector can be even more difficult. That’s why we were delighted to see this article in the Daily Telegraph about Byron Hamburgers’ plans to almost double in size in the next four years, by opening 10 branches every year.

We’ve worked with Byron Hamburgers over recent years, helping them to make their boat go faster, and focus on what’s important to their business.  It’s always fantastic to see our clients achieving the success that they deserve.

What are the challenges that all growing businesses have to face? And what might you – the entrepreneurial leader – do to ensure success?

The challenge of growth

It may seem obvious, but successfully running a business with hundreds of staff working across 50 branches requires leadership that sets and communicates a clear strategy . One of the challenges of growth is ensuring this remains a focus.In a recent study, John Hunt of the London Business School found that only 30% of managers believe that they can delegate effectively. The remaining 70%? Probably trying, with the best of intentions, to keep a tight control on all the levers of growth that brought them the success they have today.

That’s fine, but only to an extent. You see, in a rapidly growing business, you can’t get to ‘tomorrow’ by doing what got you to ‘today’. Your leadership challenge is to keep the strategic initiatives at the forefront of your agenda, and be clear about what you need to start, continue or stop to keep your focus on these. In other words, to only do the things that will make your boat go faster.

Focus on what’s important

Our first Performance Principle lies at the heart of our approach – ‘Focus on What’s Important’ This requires clarity on the business strategy and goals you set, and a ruthlessness about what tasks and activities are worth your time and attention in pursuit of them. If you can’t explain why the task you are doing right now is important to your business, then consider whether the task is worth doing at all. Often you will find that you can delegate, delay or delete the task. So what’s the question that challenges you and your colleagues to test whether you’re doing what’s important or not?

My Olympic partner Ben had a simple, clear and direct question in his crew – “Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?”  What’s your version of “Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?” in your business?

Whether that works for you, or whether you create your own question in your business, find one that you, your leadership team and colleagues throughout the business can use to be ruthless with your time and effort.

You can’t win the race by yourself

One of the most productive and enjoyable parts of my role is to guide leadership teams through one of our rowing days – putting groups on the water together with the seemingly simple task of making the boat go faster.

And what do leaders constantly learn from this experience? That you can’t win the race by yourself. With so many sports, you can rely on one or two super-talented individuals to bring home the silverware. With rowing, you can’t. Every single person in the crew must work towards a synchronized stroke that propels the boat forward. Our rowing day is a fantastic way to strengthen a team from any organisation. It centres around the third of our Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? Performance Principles “Work effectively with others to achieve goals”.

To do this, you need to identify your own strengths and weaknesses and those of the team around you. If you take the time to identify any skill gaps in your team, you’re on the path to finding a solution,  thus avoiding any issues they could cause later. It is crucial to recruit and retain people who you can trust and to whom you can delegate effectively. Once a business reaches a certain size it becomes impossible for one leader to do everything. Delegation is critical for business growth.

Business growth – focus on performance

As a company grows, it’s possible that managers may lose sight of the day-to-day habitual actions that bring success. It can be all too easy to focus only on the bottom line and quarterly numbers.

A key to Byron’s success is that they continue to focus on the small actions – the performance of individuals – in the knowledge that if they do, the results will come. For example, the staff are trained to sell an extra plate of nachos when the customer first orders drinks. These small steps that are are regularly checked against the end goal improve revenue on a grand scale, when the whole group is taken into account. Accordingly , they create the momentum towards the results that the company desires in order to achieve its strategy for growth.

You can see more on our work with Byron Hamburgers here – Byron Hamburger  Make the Boat Go Faster.

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