Your Business Buddy Blog

5 Reasons Top Performers Leave Your Growing Business (Really)

Julie Faddoul - Friday, July 20, 2012

You finally kick off your small business and you’re feeling on top of the world, you employ a key employee, and they’re amazing! The business begins to grow and soon enough, you employ another key employee, and guess what? They’re amazing too!! 

Wow, your business is going great... you're the three musketeers and together the three of you form a rockstar, winning team.

You’re kicking goals… and life is good!

Until one of them decides to leave.

This can be especially devastating with  small teams.

Retaining ‘top talent’ is a particular concern for small business owners that are experiencing growth. There is a specific set of reasons that are very unique to small businesses that begin to grow. This is the underbelly of the natural stages of your small business’ evolution. It’s important to be aware of the Retention dangers that can come up as your business begins to grow so that you can do something about it before the shit hits the fan early.

Here are the TOP 5 Reasons Why your Top Performers Leave your Growing Business (Really)
# 1 Your cosy, family style, Kitchen Table start Up turned into a real Company
With growth comes the natural introduction of new processes, procedures and systems. In the good old days you could run into the other person’s office with a HOT new idea and that’s now been replaced with the ‘Thursday Strategy Meeting’. Following your intuition on things and taking a chance on a client’s promise is now replaced by a formal ‘request for special payment’ procedure. Top performers (typically) detest the P words, processes and procedures. So be careful when building too many systems or imposing too many constraints especially without checking in with your key players, or they are likely to leave if they are not accommodated for.

# 2 Your company grew, and so did your ego.
At the beginning you were heading into your business cautiously and wide eyed, asking for advice and valuing people’s opinions, that comes with being a new entrepreneur. You worked side by side with your employees and you shared your challenges, concerns and fears with your key employees. Your staff respected your honesty and transparent style and felt like they were part of a bigger picture, they were connected to your vision. Then you scored that big break, and got a very secure and solid revenue base and started to believe your own ‘BS’. Make sure you don’t become foolishly trapped by your own brand shell, your team need to see the real you because that’s who they want to work with.

# 3 There’s a new Head Honcho in town
At one stage you were the boss. Now you’ve got supervisors and team leaders and managers. So your key employees, that loved and respected YOU are now required to report in to the new tosser guy and things just aren’t the same. Layers in management are inevitable with growth, but remember that layers can also create barriers, so remember to drop In and stay connected with your team, this will mean everything to your best employees.

# 4 You employ the weakest link and the chain begins to break.
Great business people like to do business with great business people, great athletes like to compete with great athletes… and great staff like to work with other great staff. Key employees can quickly get discouraged and annoyed when others don’t pull their weight. Be careful, one stupid bad hiring decision can ruin a great team, especially when they’re small. Set a high standard in your team and stick to it. For the good of the whole team make no exceptions.

# 5 The sky is no longer the limit
Everyone can do with a little hope for a better future, what can you offer as far as career paths and progression? I know, I know, especially if you're asmall business with a small team, there’s only so far someone can go sometimes.. right?


The good news is that there’s a loads of simple strategies for progression proxies that you can implement in your small business to keep top talent motivated to stay. There are many career progression substitutes that can be equally rewarding for your ambitious and driven bright sparks. Remember, typically your top performers do the work of 3 people so its worth spending some time ensure they stay on with you long term.

If your small business doesn't have a defined retention strategy, you’re leaving yourself open to losing your TOP earners and performers to your competition. Call ‘Your Business Buddy’ to learn how we can help you secure your top earners and top performers.

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