It is easy to use this blog to promote the company and what we are doing and harder to really take you behind the scenes and provide an insight into the day to day.
Our core business: developing, selling and supporting computer software; has grown considerably this year. New installations have doubled on last year. There are signs that growth will continue in 2008 because what is usually a slower time of the year, November and December, are as busy as our busiest months with installation bookings and requests from sales prospects.
This is all great news, certainly good for business.
The challenge is to manage this growth so that existing customers are well served. Facilitating that and ensuring it happens is the need to serve existing team members well for with the growth comes new team members and this can lead to a dilution of the character and traditions of the company.
Since I started this business in February 1981, I have sought to provide a place where people can find their own level and excel at what they enjoy. As we get bigger this is harder to achieve. The time and resource demands of this business make for a big challenge.
We have stepped up to the challenges this year by adding new roles. Three new support roles in Melbourne, three in Brisbane, one in Sydney, a new development role in Melbourne as well as three new admin support roles. One new position in a small business is a challenge to digest. This year, we are digesting eleven plus we are digesting two new team members who replaced others who moved on.
And we are not done: we are planning on hiring for two more new roles in the business this side of Christmas.
So, while bringing these new positions into our structure and the new team members filling them – and adding the cars, phones and expanded offices necessary to support them – we are challenged to infuse them with our culture (while respecting theirs) and ensure that the Tower Advantage (as we like to call it) is carried forward.
With most of our team on the road all day every day, phone contact is all they have for their connection with the business. This is where we have the biggest challenge with the expansion – ensuring that how we are in contact with our field team is consistent which how the company has evolved over its almost 27 year life. Frankly, there have been some bumps along the way over the last few months. Not financial, but bumps like miscommunication due to not having the time to give to a call here or an email there. These bumps were most evident a few weeks back and since we realised they were there we have taken steps to better respect the field team, especially those with years of service and who best reflect our traditions and culture.
While we have invested money in expanding our field team, we have neglected the admin infrastructure which supports them. This is where we have invested in recent weeks and will invest further in the next few weeks. By strengthening our admin team we will ensure more time is available for communicating with the field team, making travel arrangements and facilitating respecting our culture and thereby the point of difference which small businesses find appealing in Tower Systems.
It is key is to ensure that everyone on the team understands that they are not the only ones under the pump and that bringing new people on board can take a while to share our culture.
Gee, all this growth is hard work. It was never on my mind in early 1981 when I started the company. Back then my head was full of dreams about business and starting one would mean. Thankfully reality soon set in. The growth this year brings a new reality and by embracing it we are a stronger and more able business and, I hope, better serving our customers.
Reading back on this post I am tempted to edit some of the ramble out but I’ll leave it as my meanderings reflect, in part, the journey of growth this year.