Ditch the Spreadsheet: Using Systems to Scale as Your Company Grows

By Tiffany Chepul

Using Systems to Scale as Your Company Grows

dateThu, Jan 23, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Remember when you could fit your entire company into a conference room? Those were the days. Things were simple and most things could be managed on a spreadsheet: your financials, your customer/contact list, your company strategy, your to do list, etc.

Using Systems to Scale as Your Company Grows

Then you grew. Inevitably, you needed an ERP system to manage your accounting and supply chain. You also needed a CRM to help give visibility to all your customer connections and drive your sales pipeline. You set up an enterprise-wide calendar system. Your HR team needed a system to track employees, benefits and days off.

But, what about your company’s strategy and execution plans? Still using those spreadsheets?

Now that you have 50+ employees, separate departments, shared resources and dependent/conflicting priorities, I’m guessing the spreadsheet approach to planning and execution is no longer working.

Here are some pain points we usually hear when companies have hit that ceiling of complexity:

  • We are missing our numbers and/or deadlines.
  • We don’t have clear communication of priorities and goals from the executive team down into the departments.
  • Our IT, Finance or HR teams are completely overwhelmed with internal requests and it’s impossible to prioritize
  • We are operating in silos and have no idea what each department is doing independently.
  • Our weekly meetings are painful and we never solve anything.
  • Our environment is highly political with lots of drama around shared or lacking resources.
  • Our investors have lost confidence in our ability to show concrete plans and progress, and we are in danger of losing capital!

These are telltale signs that an organization has reached a boiling point and needs a strong planning and execution system like Rhythm. They need the structure and proven process for growth that is Think, Plan, Do. They need the soft skills - communication, prioritization and compromise - that come with building healthy habits around annual and quarterly planning. They need to learn how to have effective weekly team meetings where the team solves problems and moves priorities forward. They need a system - a software tool to house all of their priorities & KPIs - that gives them visibility, transparency, collaboration and accountability.

At the beginning of the year, I began working with a manufacturing company at this very point in their growth. They needed to formalize their plan and make it visible to the entire organization. Historically, it had been in a spreadsheet that only the exec team could see. First, we defined top priorities in a way that made them easy for everyone to understand. The plan was rolled out and departments began making their plans to support the company plan. We established Priority and KPI dashboards in Rhythm that provided the framework for effective weekly meetings. Teams began their Meeting Rhythms and information began flowing properly. They started making adjustments, collaborating with each other through the software, and before they knew it, execution was moving at a brisk pace. Everyone was rowing together.

We are now mid-year and they are on track to hit their annual revenue goal. Profit Margins have increased from the mid-20% range to over 40%. They’ve greatly improved their processes, which was their #1 Annual Initiative. They are well on their way to a successful year thanks to scaling their systems to support their growth!

Predictable Results Scaling Your Company for Rapid Growth

Looking for more information to help get you started? Check out our additional resources:

De-Suck Your Unproductive Weekly Status Meetings

Scaling Rhythm For Larger, Complex Companies

How to Drive Revenue Growth Consistently [Case Study]

Strong Winning Moves to Grow the Firm and Stay Competitive

Develop a meaningful Think Rhythm for yourself and the company

Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images

Tiffany Chepul


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images