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  • Writer's pictureMitchell York, Professional EOS Implementer

Three More Factors that Keep Small Businesses Small—And What to Do About Them

Last week I wrote about four characteristics of some small business owners that keep their small businesses small. They were:

  • Unwillingness to make choices

  • Inability/unwillingness to delegate

  • Lack of discipline/accountability

  • Lack of a long-term vision

I could have added a few more last time, but I didn’t want to depress the entrepreneurs out there so close to Christmas! To be fair, along with describing some challenges that constrain small business growth, I did add solutions.

Here are three more growth-limiting factors of small businesses I have witnessed, with suggested solutions. (BTW, I define small businesses as having approximately 10-250 employees and $2 million-$50 million in sales.)

  1. Making decisions with gut feel instead of data

If you’ve ever taken or used DISC or Kolbe psychological profiles, you’ve no doubt come across business owners who are “High D’s” or “Quick Starts.” This is a pretty common profile among entrepreneurs. They like to make decisions fast. They dominate other peoples’ views and have limited patience for team members who rely more on investigation and fact-finding than intuition. (Who was it who said, “Move fast and break things? How’s that working out for ya?)

A Solution: In the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), one of the six key components to have a successful business is Data. This means businesses that run based on tracked data have better outcomes than those running on the gut-feel of the owner. How do you get started? Download the EOS Scorecard, for a start. This super-simple one-pager makes you think about the 5-to-15 measurables that really matter to the business and that you must track weekly. The genius of the EOS Scorecard is that it:

  • Identifies the person who’s responsible for delivering each measurable

  • Identifies the measurable itself

  • Identifies the weekly goal number

  • Has a full quarter’s worth of data on each metric, week by week, so you can see at a glance if you’re on track or off track.

Once you have your Scorecard nailed, you’ll never rely solely on intuition again.

2. Not understanding the different role of Visionary and Integrator

A who and a what ? The terms Visionary and Integrator take some explaining. All organizations have to have someone in the Integrator role – a person who coordinates the functional areas of the business and makes sure people work well together, delivering on their accountabilities. Some organizations also have a Visionary – a person who has huge ideas, and a lot of them, who gets the big deals done, and who hates the details. When a Visionary is running the day-to-day, there’s chaos, because that person is bored to tears by the minutiae of all the business’s moving parts and moving people. When a Visionary is in the Integrator’s seat, you’ll need a good chiropractor on call for the organizational whiplash that takes place. (A good read on the role of Visionary and Integrator is a book called .)

A Solution:If you’re a Visionary and you know it, clap your hands and go find yourself an Integrator as soon as you can, unless you are really sure you have the patience to also sit in the Integrator seat. Sometimes it takes a few years to be able to afford an additional high-level resource, but if you care about your company’s productivity, it’s often worth it.

3. Lack of Communication

Ever do a pop quiz and ask your leadership team what the core values of your business are, what your 10-year-target is, what your core focus is? Embarrassing, right? It’s rare that, even in a small business with a few dozen or few hundred employees, everyone knows the answers to these fundamental questions. But it shouldn’t be suprising. Because nobody is telling them the answers!

A solution: The owner has to get everyone together every quarter and repeat the company’s core values, core focus, 10-year target, and other key data points that everyone must internalize. It’s not that hard to do. And while it may get a bit boring to hear those values repeated every quarter, that’s the point. Until you’ve told people something a half dozen times, don’t expect them to remember it.

If your business is hitting the ceiling, read this article and visit this link to take an organizational check-up and find out how to break through. #eos #eosworldwide #traction #ginowickman #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #OKR

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