THE IMPORTANCE OF STRUCTURE IN SMEs

You might think that your business is too small or that it’s too early to set up formal structures and processes, but what if we told you that structuring your business from the outset is the most effective way to grow? It boosts efficiency, and ultimately helps your business to do more…by doing less.

That being said, implementing organisational structure within small businesses is not without its difficulties. You and your team members often need to wear multiple hats and juggle numerous roles and responsibilities. Things change over time and it’s your flexibility that keeps things moving.

As your business grows this ad-hoc approach probably won’t work as well. As workloads increase it’s likely you’ll encounter high stress levels and more staff errors; not due to lack of hard work, but due to lack of communication. No one knows who is responsible for what and how everything is going to get done!

Maybe you didn’t hire people into specific roles in the first place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t define the roles your business needs to achieve growth and what they should look like.

Your structure doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it should serve as a framework for your business as it evolves. It may not reflect exactly where your business is today, but by defining your ideal future organisation you are one step closer to making it a reality.

As the business owner, implementing structure can take a huge amount of weight off your shoulders. As your time is swallowed up and workloads increase you can feel safe in the knowledge that jobs are being completed, everyone knows what they are responsible for and how work should be completed.

Your employees will thank you too. It provides more clarity & consistency, enables better decision making, and establishes expectations. Assigning responsibility helps employees to be more focused and productive, and everyone will benefit from improved efficiency and communication.

So…where do you start?

How are you supposed to establish a solid structure when you don’t even have time to reply to all your emails?

Don’t let it overwhelm you – start with the basics and go from there…

The initial step should always be to clearly define your business goals, as this will inform everything else that you do. Start by using it to establish the initial ‘functional’ organisational chart. Take a look at your existing staff members’ roles and responsibilities; make sure you are making the most of their strengths and attributes and use that to clearly define what they are responsible for, why, and how. Doing so will help you to fill positions, establish where the gaps are, and ensure that important tasks are not neglected. From here you’ll probably have a clear growth path, and the business will seem to run itself.

But don’t forget, organisational structure doesn’t just stop with job descriptions and communication channels. If you haven’t already, consider identifying routines and processes to make ensure professionalism and consistency. Structuring your business also extends to appraisals, training plans and pay & benefit schemes. These don’t need to be fancy corporate-style systems, but simple processes that make sure everyone is happy, being treated fairly and keep on-track for business growth.

Of course, every business will be different and what works for one may not work for another. If you are struggling to find what works for you, or don’t have the time to figure it out, let the experts at South Coast HR take the stress out of it for you!