Owning your own business & being self-employed can be invigorating and terrifying in equal measure. There comes a time in every small business lifecycle when the topic of growth can no longer be avoided. It might be daunting to take on more responsibility and more risk, but if you want your business to succeed, growth is inevitable.
People start businesses for many different reasons. You might be looking to build the company as far as you can take it and then sell it for your retirement fund. Or you might have created something that will change lives and you want to make sure everyone can experience it. Or you might just want to share your passion with the world. If you want to transform your little acorns into mighty oaks, you’re going to have to think about scaling your business at some point. Here are four steps to growing your business.
1. Move to bigger premises
Your tiny e-commerce venture might be working fine from your garage, but if sales are booming, you’re eventually going to have to look for a bigger place. And your dining table might be perfectly functional when you first start your design agency, but how will your first employee feel about working between stacks of laundry and unopened mail?
Moving to bigger premises is the perfect way to allow your business to grow organically. With a dedicated space, you can focus entirely on the task at hand – skyrocketing your venture. If possible, you should move before it becomes a necessity. There’s nothing worse than having to turn down projects or orders because you don’t have the capacity. Moving to bigger premises earlier than necessary might be the inspiration you need to help grow your business.
2. Invest in equipment
When you first start out in business, you probably scrimped and saved to get hold of any old second-hand equipment that would get the job done. A few years down the line and that second-hand equipment can start to take its toll on your productivity. Now is the time to invest in new equipment if you want your business to grow.
As a small business, keeping a close eye on the cash flow is essential, so making big purchases before you are financially stable can be risky. This is why leasing can be such a great option. Fixed payments allow you to plan your monthly cash flow so you don’t have to worry about finding huge sums of money. You can also invest in top-of-the-range equipment rather than settling for what you can afford. When choosing a leasing agreement, make sure you read the fine print and understand all of the charges due.
3. Outsource essential work
At the start of your business, you probably wore all of the hats. You’re the accountant and the marketing manager and the customer service representative and the general manager. This can become exhausting after a while. If you want to make time for big-picture planning instead of getting caught up in the day-to-day, then you need to outsource.
This can be difficult to do for the first time, particularly if you enjoy doing some of these tasks. Marketing your own business can be really fun, but if you’re spending all day perfecting your Instagram stories, this is taking valuable time away from more essential tasks. Learn to find a balance and look for ways to outsource aspects of running your business that regularly take up too much time.
4. Find a mentor
Getting advice from someone who has been where you are can be invaluable. From answering your day-to-day questions about VAT to helping you explore different avenues for growth. There are many ways to go about finding a mentor. You can approach people in at networking events who run companies that you admire. There are also formal mentor networking schemes available.
When choosing a mentor, it can help to find someone who you don’t always agree with. Someone who does things a different way. Someone with different values. If you find someone who mirrors your thoughts and feelings, you might find they don’t offer any resistance to your ideas. Find someone who challenges you every step of the way if you want your business to grow.