Every small business owner dreams big. What starts as a tiny idea and a basement pop-up shop has high hopes for one day becoming a huge factory outputting 10,000 units a day. Or perhaps your home kitchen cupcake shop turns into franchises all over the country. Whatever business you find yourself in, you dream of growth. Big growth. But what happens when that day suddenly approaches? When and how do you take the next big step? Check out these 6 quick tips for your growing business and make sure you don’t become your own stumbling block by rushing and not following your due paces as your business expands.
1. Plan. Don’t Rush. Be Patient. The excitement of growth can cause us to make hasty decisions. When the opportunity to grow appears, we want to leap right there and achieve the dream overnight. If you do not diligently outline your business growth plan and the specific parameters and timeline associated with its completion, you can find yourself spending more money than you have and stuck in poor decisions that sufficed short term but lacked long term vision. Take your time. Discuss every possibility. Communicate and commit to writing your 5, 10 and 15 year goals. Take your time to thoughtfully consider all short and long term implications for any decisions that you make.
2. Manage Your Money. Meet with a Financial Advisor. An extension of Rule #1, it’s time to outline your finances in minute detail. Make sure you have a crystal clear understanding of your finances, including cash flow, debt and the potential short and long term impact of any big money moves. Create a detailed financial plan to achieve your business growth without putting you out of business. The last place you want to be is in a larger facility with more debt and no cash. Take your time to plan and use cash wisely, consider creative ways to invest and fund your prospective growth and have a professional provide insight for all big decisions. You are in business for the long term, you need to manage your money like you believe that.
3. Utilize Your Resources. A further extension to Rules #1 and #2 is to consult legal counsel. Whether you’re signing a new lease, purchasing a property or remodeling an existing site, be sure to understand the liabilities and legal responsibility those decision entail. Have all contract agreements reviewed in detail and allow your lawyer to manage risk intelligently with your best interests in mind. Excitement can push someone to sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print. Simply put, that can be the kiss of death to any business. Take your time and make sure you, your family, your clients and ultimately, your business are well protected and legally sound.
4. Transition Deliberately. A move of any kind can cause a rupture in communication with your client. Even when the change on the horizon is mutually beneficial, people can oppose change and experience discomfort during the transition. Thoughtfully consider whether your business growth will cause any outages, delays to service or other adjustments to your usual workflow. Communicate with your client base so that they know what to expect and in what time frame. Acknowledge their importance by going above and beyond for any clients who might experience a bit of growing pains along with you. Whether you offer a “thanks for your patience” discount or simply take the time to pick up the phone or take them to lunch, let your clients know that the changes coming will help you to serve them better. Thank them for providing the opportunity for your business to grow.
5. Stick to the Plan. Hold yourself accountable. Better yet, nominate someone else to hold you accountable. Once you have a detailed written plan of action, stick with it. You made that plan after doing your homework, consulting the pros and seriously considering exactly what future you are moving towards. That plan wasn’t created on a whim…it was purposeful and designed for efficiency, effectiveness and ultimately, long term success. Don’t let your heart get the better of you by straying at a moment’s notice because you’ve just “gotta have it now!” Treat that plan like law. That’s not to say it won’t be tweaked here and there, but the fundamental foundation should remain in tact and you should be committed to staying the course.
6. Celebrate! The fun part! You’re about to accomplish something exceptional! All of that hard work, blood, sweat and tears are finally paying off. It’s an exciting, scary, exhilarating time for you. Take a moment to relish this part of your journey. It’s ok to pat yourself on the back and say “I did it!” Let your client base celebrate with you. You’re extending them new services, better quality, more attention and availability…this business growth is for them! And because of them. Create anticipation for your new grand opening. Set up an open house, share sneak peeks on social media. Help everyone hop on the thrill ride as you take the next professional leap.
If you keep these quick tips to business growth handy and refer back to them throughout your expansion process, you’ll be able to gut check your decisions and intentions. Ask yourself if you’ve fulfilled each point or if you’ve cut corners anywhere and left yourself exposed. Use it as a marker to remind yourself what you committed to when you decided to take the next big step. These quick tips to business growth won’t steer you wrong. Congratulations on a worthy accomplishment! We can’t wait to see you continue to grow in the years to come!