My top three tips for growing your business
Great, you have survived your first two or even three years in business. You have a solid customer base and new customers keep coming in. You’ve made it, right? But you're still hard at work 7 days a week, you can’t consider going away for a long weekend, let alone a full week and you have no time for business development. It’s time to adapt your business to give you more flexibility and more time.
It is true that some businesses tick along nicely with the owner at the helm (and doing almost all the work). It is true that this makes your business easier to sell and it improves your margins - after all, staff are not cheap. But you have a dream of living in the Maldives, while your business works for you back home… don’t you?
In my line of work I get to see the inner workings of many different business of all shapes and sizes and across many different industries. I also have the privilege of working with some great and exciting people with great ideas. They all have differing views on how to grow a business. But, in my experience, there are three main ones that really stand out and they are applicable to almost all business types.
Unsurprisingly, many entrepreneurs have trouble giving up control of a business they have helped to craft and build. Letting go means you must trust others. You are asking them to work for you, but you must also be comfortable in the knowledge that they will do things differently to you and make mistakes.
It may seem odd to be happy to allow others to mess things up in your business, but once you reconcile yourself with the idea that this is all part of the growing process it will help you let go.
You need to view it as a process of creative destruction. As your new business manager/accountant/financial director finds problems, they will be corrected and this will help you to scale. An objective eye (ie, not yours!) will help with this process.
Putting procedures in place
McDonalds is a great example of a business that has been ruthless in enforcing and introducing procedures, no matter where you are. Tokyo, New York or London - the way a McDonald’s burger is made follows an identical pattern. There are written procedures for everything from the amount of salt to put on the fries to the number of blobs of ketchup on a burger.
You may think that your work is too bespoke and not repetitive enough to have written procedures, but remember this is exactly what burger flippers thought before McDonalds. And once a procedure is in place, you can teach someone else how to do it, giving you time to move forward on other plans or just take that holiday you deserve.
For me this is key for any business decision, however when it comes to growth, financial planning really comes into its own. Many businesses find that as they grow they run out of cash. This has nothing to do with the underlying profitability or the great business model you have, but simply that as you grow larger you need more advertising, staff, materials, bigger premises and product to shift. This puts a big cash strain on a growing business.
History is littered with businesses that grew too fast and went pop. The ones that engage in sound financial planning and keep hold of the financial reigns as they grow, will survive. Thankfully, a good accountant can do this for you.
You may feel that your business works just fine as it is, but by pursuing growth, carefully and employing the right people to take over the jobs that you are happy to relinquish, you can find time to truly enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Start putting those plans into action today. Give us a call and discuss how your business can move forwards and you can move to the Maldives!