In the last article, we discussed whether growth is something you truly desire. Now let’s talk about why business growth requires a systematic approach and not just an initial push.
How many of you seriously believe that a long time ago ten-meter tall giants lived on Earth?
They could not have existed because such anatomy is impossible. The design of our skeleton means it can bear a certain load. Our bones are able to withstand a certain weight. And if the linear proportions of a person are doubled, their weight will be eight times greater! A giant will have the muscles to move, but their bones and joints would have to be unusually strong. If we increase our giant’s height to 10 meters, then he will weigh 10 tons when his skeleton will be capable of bearing only two tons. In reality, King Kong, Godzilla, Kaiju, and other fictional giants would either crawl slowly on all fours or collapse in a shapeless mass under their own weight.
If evolution had set out to create a 10-meter person, their anatomy would have been very different.
It’s the same in the business world. And you need to keep this in mind when growing your company. As the head of the company, you are the key to its evolution, and you need to provide a safety margin so that it can withstand its own weight when it grows.
The skeleton of a company is made of its processes and accompanying tools. In small companies, processes are usually developed spontaneously, they are intuitive and so are not standardized and recorded. For a small company, this is perfectly normal.
If you have a small agency and you are the only manager, then you know exactly how all the processes work. But if you hire an assistant, you need to ensure that they work in harmony with you. If not, they could do something that harms the reputation of your company. When we talk about company processes, in this simple case we mean your assistant knowing exactly what to do, how to do it, and when.
The more employees you have, the more processes you will have to configure and the fewer opportunities you will have to act intuitively. Other people cannot read your mind, so everything needs to be standardized and recorded on external media.
For example, all project managers should implement projects according to a company protocol, otherwise, it will be difficult to know who is doing what and when, and if one of the managers goes on vacation, their colleagues will be disoriented for quite a while. Translators should perform the same checks when submitting each project so that the quality of their work is predictable and consistent. The accountant has to pay vendors and issue invoices to clients in accordance with a single algorithm.
If you do not set up clear processes that are uniform and mandatory for everyone, then your company will not be able to grow: every time you try to expand, you will run into a brick wall.
Well-established processes do not require your input, but debugging them requires a lot of effort. Implementing and monitoring compliance with such processes is a fairly time-consuming task. You will have to ensure that your employees work strictly in accordance with your protocol. You will no doubt have nonconformists and slow learners among your ranks, and they will have to work as you direct them, or you will have to modify your processes.
Many processes can be automated using specialized software. For example, the author of this article issued instructions that for each job submitted by the translator, the editor should create a list of all changes and perform a quality assessment. And to avoid favoritism, the editor and translator cannot be in direct contact—the project manager acts as an intermediary.
The process worked at first, but then stalled, and only 20% of the translations were actually being evaluated. It turned out that the new process was overloading the project managers. They had to remind editors to send the feedback, forward it to translators, receive their comments, send them back to the editors, then enter the final quality rating in a separate file. A laborious process! Since liaising with customers was the priority, project managers could only do this work when time allowed.
To address this problem, we created a TQAuditor program, which now performs all these routine actions. The number of evaluated translations has increased to 70%.
With this software, you can automate and standardize many processes—project management, billing, sales, etc. But you don’t need to develop your own software—you can purchase a solution available on the market.
In the next article, we will talk about why you should develop and standardize processes long before they become critical.)