Starting a new business can be one of the most rewarding and profitable endeavours you ever embark on. But once you get past that initial start-up phase how do you keep growing your business further, and what are the potential pitfalls along the way?
Building a team you can trust
Any business can only ever be as good as the staff that are behind it, from the managerial team to those in your sales department, customer services and beyond. Businesses that have been established longer are more likely to have assembled a team of highly competent and dedicated employees who they can depend upon. For businesses in the early stages of development there may be a few teething problems as dependable people are found. But focus on building a solid team from the ground up and you have a more stable foundation upon which to develop the business in new directions.
Managing your own time
When trying to simultaneously manage and grow a business, it can be far too easy to end up working all hours of the day. This in turn can lead to burn-out, which is the last thing any business owner needs for successfully growing a business. It’s important to maintain a work-life balance that avoids burn-out.
Getting the word out
One of the hardest things about growing your business can be making your voice heard above the many competitors out there who are already well established and own a significant portion of the marketplace. Particularly in the early stages it’s important to invest in getting the word out through avenues such as local radio and TV advertising, and of course your own website. Implementing a coherent search engine optimisation and social media strategy at an early stage can greatly support your growth in the early days.
Offering something bigger and better than the competition
Aside from marketing yourself to your potential customers you also need to give them a real reason for choosing to go with you, rather than to defect to one of your competitors. This can mean offering a product or package that is better in some way than the competition, but it can also mean offering a better level of service. For example, you might be able to offer faster delivery or appointment times, or the level of product support you offer may be superior.
Building cashflow to support your business during slow periods
A good grasp of cashflow is vital for any business, but it is particularly important for those in the early growing stages. Not only do you need to ensure that you have enough cash in reserve to keep the business afloat during slow periods, but it is also necessary to have enough cash to support growing the business further. Prompt invoicing and chasing up is essential for healthy cash flow, as is planning ahead for any significant expenses that can be predicted. You also can use simple accounting software such as QuickBooks or a simple Excel spreedsheet to control your capital and cashflow.
Growing all parts of the business at the same rate
As a business grows, some elements of it grow faster than others and this can cause bottlenecks in business processes. To enable the business to grow harmoniously and effectively it’s important to be aware where these bottlenecks are, and take action where appropriate to remove them and get your business flowing again.