Entrepreneur, start-up, micro-business, small business – Sometimes as a business owner it can feel like you’re stuck with a label. If your business is small right now, it doesn’t mean you’re trapped in the ‘small business’ group forever.
For some, getting to where you’ve got to is the dream. But for those of you with big business ambitions, here’s some advice on how to take what you have now and scale it up:
1. Build a team of experts around you
You built your company from the ground up, and that’s something to celebrate. You may have gone into business with a partner, and so far, you’re a great team!
But it doesn’t matter whether the business was started by one or two of you – you’re going to be wearing several different hats on a day to day basis. Admin, marketing, sales, operations, finance, project management, customer service – maybe even coffee maker, lunch provider, cleaner.
To begin to grow as a business, you need to take off some of those hats! You won’t be able to take them all off at once, but you can start by looking at what you really need right now. Choose the role that’s going to be most valuable for growing your business at present, and find an expert to take your place.
How do you know if you’re financially ready for an employee? Cue point 2.
2. Look into your financial future
The only way to know if you’ll have the funds to hire an employee, or to buy that new piece of machinery, or shiny new office, is to look at financial forecasts.
Along with predicting the kind of revenue you might generate with the extra help, you could also spend time looking into expenses you may be able to cut, tax you could be saving, and how to better your cash flow situation.
To do this, you may want to pass your finance hat over to a good accountant! You can automate so much of your process with a software like Xero these days, but you’re going to want the expert help to create (and translate) those forecasts.
3. Be clear on who you serve
It seems counterproductive to tell you to ‘niche down’ when you want to ‘scale up’. If you want more business you need to cast the net wide, right? Actually, it’s the opposite, and this is where a lot of businesses go wrong.
Trying to reach everyone makes you a jack of all trades, and a master of none. It means that creating specific products or services will be hard – because you’ll always be trying to generalise.
Instead of casting that net far and wide, think hard about the industry type or buyer type that you want to focus all your attention on – your ideal client.
Let’s say you decide you’re only going to sell to university students – now instead of trying to reach everyone ever and gaining a couple of students in the mix, you can focus all your marketing efforts on the one group. You can build yourself up to be the number one business for students.
4. Drive innovation
When you’ve started to pass work of to new team members and you’re finding you have more time, innovate. Look at the biggest problems in your market and try to solve them, or even try to better a product or service that already exists for them.
You may not be the the next Apple, but you may just find the solution to a key problem that makes you the Steve Jobs equivalent in your own niche market.
Plus, if you have spent money innovating and have created something new, you may be eligible to make a Research and Development claim, meaning you could get a reduction on your corporation tax. Talk to us about R&D.
5. Think long term, think big
Most importantly, don’t get stuck in a small business mindset. When you’re starting to become successful, put more money into the business, more money into innovation, more money into marketing.
Motivate your team with this growth mindset too – allow them to lead and to take on different roles. Share the key numbers with them. If you’re invested in growth, invest in your things that will grow with you – your products and your team.
Want a growth plan that truly delivers? Need help to ramp up your financial efficiency? Looking to increase the scalability of your business? Talk to us about growing your business.