Scaling a business, from startup to small business, is a risky endeavour. But if you do it carefully, while being mindful of the key areas that will affect your growth, your success is obviously much more likely.
Here in this article, I will be talking about my five thoughtful best ways to solving small business growth challenges, focusing on: managing a small/larger staff base, ensuring the overall quality of your product or service, and keeping tabs on every business expenses.
STEP 1. Making the most of your people
In the early days, you might have employed no more than five members of staff, all working in the same room. Being in close quarters makes it easier for management, team bond, company culture as well as other team members, to be aware of what everyone is working on and for you to support and develop your team in the best way.
As you work to scale your operations to occupy a larger office and the nature of your business has your employees regularly out on the road fulfilling client requests or conducting meetings, it suddenly gets a whole lot harder to keep in touch and keep tabs on the team. Support and development needs to become more formal. While you can lose that close relationship with your team, more formal training and development structures mean that no one is left behind and that your team are effectively skilled to help the company grow.
STEP 2. Tech tools to boost productivity
Ideally your small business should focus on results, rather than micro-manage hours and input. However, for some businesses it’s not that simple and success relies on working at a reliable and consistent capacity. It’s not just about checking your employees are doing the work they’re supposed to be doing, but managing your business operations to work at full capacity too.
STEP 3. Set-up a quality control system
As your company grows you must make sure that the quality of your goods or services is maintained despite its increasing size. Once your small business has found its feet, it can be all too easy for the simple things to slip off your radar.
A task management system can help with this, allowing your to mark off checks on projects with internal team members, senior staff and clients or customers. To make this as effective as possible, you need to make sure your growing team understands the approval system and that it makes sense with how their jobs are carried out. Talk with key team members about their structures and who they are in contact with for approval and assistance.
STEP 4. Create a calendar template
Now that you have your core systems in place, start and look at how your work week is structured. Create a calendar template that blocks out time for certain activities, i.e. you might decide that Friday is your business development day, Monday is for marketing, and Tuesday through Thursday are for clients/revenue-generating activities. Once you create a structure around your work week you will find that you become much more focused and productive.
STEP 5. Monitor the numbers [Analytics]
While start-ups tend to operate on lean budgets, the increased cash flow through a scaling business can seem like something of a luxury. But the larger the cashflow, the greater potential for any holdups or inefficiencies to create havoc in the business. If payments are held up for any reason the cashflow lag can and does bankrupt otherwise successful companies.
Similarly, the potential for small costs and savings are magnified when your company scales.
Imagine you run a small bakery. If your daily customer numbers increase from tens to hundreds, you’re suddenly going to find yourself ordering larger quantities of ingredients, packaging and equipment. Be careful of getting too liberal with your spending as when the numbers are bigger, they become less precise, and you lose track of your bottom line. That means investing in proper reporting tools and accounting systems to help you identify where cash is going to waste.
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