Why Leadership is Key to Your Business Growth
How do you scale your Blackpool business? And how do you build the skills to lead that scaling? Blackpool Growth Business Academy has some suggestions ...
You want to grow, but you don't want any old growth. You want growth that increases revenue at a much greater rate than any corresponding increase in costs and resources, because that's what makes you profitable.
That sort of growth is called scaling.
The ingredients of scaling
There's more than one way to scale. Suppose, for example, you run a local manufacturing business. You could refine your production processes, so you can make more with less, or so you can produce products faster and get them on the M55 out of Blackpool quicker. You might refine the products themselves, perhaps developing a premium range that enables the increased production costs to be more than offset by increased prices. You might simply look at marketing as a way of building demand cost-effectively.
Leadership and scaling
Yet there's another important ingredient of scaling that's often overlooked: leadership. Leadership is an essential part of any successful attempt to scale a business — and for lots of reasons:
- To set the direction: Scaling needs a goal. What are you going to scale? What's the target? How long are you giving yourself to achieve it? Only leaders can set this.
- To align structures and strategy with the purpose: Scaling doesn't just happen, and it usually doesn't happen by doing what you always did. Processes and procedures will need to change, and it's a business' leaders who will drive that change.
- To drive efficiencies: The very heart of scaling is efficiency — doing more with less or using the same resource to achieve ever greater results. Yet the more efficient you become, the harder it is to make further improvements. That's why it takes leadership to ensure teams stay focused, meticulous and driven to do better.
- To develop high performing teams: High performing teams share common characteristics. They are accountable. They never stop learning. They collaborate with trust. They are engaged. Leaders build high performing teams, and it's those teams that will deliver the scaling.
- To coach, recruit and retain talent: Your business needs to attract and keep its best talent so that you can innovate, experiment and take risks. Yet we know that poor management, toxic cultures and 'not getting on with the boss' feature prominently in virtually every list of why people leave their jobs. So if you want to scale, you need leaders capable of leading in the right way.
In a large number of ways you and your leadership team are the foundation on which your business is built. And yet, many of the people occupying your leadership roles — and perhaps you yourself — may have become a leader by default. So if you haven't been trained to lead, how can you know you're leading and scaling in the right way?
Skills for scaling
Scaling isn't easy. As a leader, you need to be able to balance strategic direction and control with empowering your employees, freeing them to perform to their full potential. That takes a broad skill set including:
- Emotional intelligence and self-awareness
- Performance management
- People management
- Change management
- Agile or lean principles
- Effective communication
- Personal effectiveness
- Coaching Developing and leading high performing teams
- Building an organisational culture Sales and marketing
- Business analysis
You can probably look at that list and find elements where you feel entirely confident. There will be areas where some brushing up of skills would be valuable. And there are probably a few areas on the above list that are a bit of a mystery. That's where the Blackpool Growth Business Academy comes in.
Led by people who have already succeeded in scaling their own businesses and driven by Blackpool Council and with funded support from the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund, the Blackpool Growth Business Academy helps local leaders build the skills that can help them scale more effectively. They can look at your business with independent eyes and help you understand what support and skills would benefit you most.