How North East Businesses Can Maintain Their Culture When Scaling Up

Issue 103

For North East entrepreneurs, the sky can be the limit. As a region, we have a real appetite for scaling up, and a wealth of expertise to support growing businesses.

As companies expand and evolve, it’s inevitable that workplace dynamics and relationships change. But growth doesn’t have to come at the expense of a company’s culture.

Fresh from completing Entrepreneurs Forum Scale-up Leaders’ Academy, Ellen Hedley, co-founder of Vida Creative, shares her top tips on how businesses can maintain a strong work culture while scaling.

Be clear on the vision

Scaling your business requires a full team effort. For people to know where their time and effort is best spent, they need to know the end goal.

So have a clear vision and goals for the whole organisation, including individual goals, so that everyone is confident in the role they play within the company and what they’re working towards.

Communicate with consistency

Regular, honest and transparent communication with your team, especially in times of growth and change, is crucial.

Make sure you complete regular checkins and 1-2-1s with your team – no matter how busy you get. It can be tempting to reschedule these when things are busy, but they really are an essential part of your internal communications and building trust with your people.

Prioritise your people

When things are changing rapidly, employees can start to feel disconnected from their company. Even with clear communication, new dynamics and aims can be hard to keep up with. That’s why it’s important to make sure that people feel supported throughout periods of transition.

The key is to offer plenty of opportunities for people to talk openly and share how they feel about any changes within the business. This is more than a tick box exercise – people should know that their feedback is listened to and acknowledged – that way they’ll be more likely to share their thoughts in the first place.

Review and reflect

Fast growth can mean huge shifts within a business – sometimes without you even realising it. Therefore, this is the ideal time to revisit your company values and purpose to ensure they are still core to what you do and how you do it.

Your values and purpose may have changed. If they have, involve the full team in updating them, taking everyone’s ideas on board. If they haven’t changed, reviewing them is a good opportunity to make sure you’re still living and breathing the values, and set out clearly what that looks like day-to-day.

Stay true to yourself

It can be daunting when your business starts scaling and entering new phases and markets, and it’s easy to get pulled into new areas regardless of whether or not they are a good fit for the company.

At this point it’s vital to stay confident in your abilities and remember what your business is good at. Don’t pretend you’re something you’re not and stay authentic to yourself and your business. Instead, focus on doing what you do best, and continuing to do it well.

Don’t forget the fun

Last but most definitely not least, don’t forget to keep having fun! A growing business is an incredibly exciting place to be, so keeping your people happy and nurturing a positive environment will only add to the buzz.

Social events and opportunities for your team to relax and enjoy themselves are a fantastic way to keep everyone motivated. Time together away from the daily grind can be hugely helpful in keeping teams feeling connected in times of significant change.

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