Finally, all your hard work is paying off – your business is not only thriving, but also set to grow.
It’s an exciting feeling, and seems more of an achievement amid Brexit uncertainty and global trade wars.
There is an interesting detail hidden in Government figures released in October 2018, though.
For the first time since 2010, the number of limited companies employing only one person fell by more than 15,000. Growth, it seems, may be in the air.
If you anticipate growth in your business in the next 12 months, what can you do to manage it?
Revisit your business plan
If you’re hoping to draw outside investment, you’ll need to update your business plan.
Factor in operational costs involved with the process of scaling up, and ongoing costs and forecast income thereafter.
Set out the ways in which expansion will lead to longer-term prosperity and make the case for expansion.
This should also help with your own decision making. Maybe, after all, expansion doesn’t make sense for you, or perhaps it will become apparent that growth is a stepping stone towards a merger or sale of the business.
Check in regularly – at least monthly, and maybe even weekly – with your plan. This will ensure sure you’re on track to achieve your goals, and that your assumptions have proven correct.
Keep your finances in check
A growing business needs all the capital it can get to facilitate expansion. You might be courting investors, or considering loans, but there may also be ways to squeeze more from the business.
Tightening up stock control and supplier management, and doubling down on chasing payments, can help you secure healthy cashflow.
Online accounting software, such as Xero, tracks your business’s finances and helps eradicate late payments with its easy-to-use invoicing facility.
Even if these measures don’t unlock all the funding you’ll need in their own right, they can reassure outside investors and banks, boosting your chances of securing loans or investment.
Assess the risks and opportunities
Approaches that were successful when your business was a startup may no longer apply when it’s established.
With more staff and more premises, you might find yourself less agile, while goodwill towards startups can evaporate with success.
As market conditions evolve you need to constantly review strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
You can do this by conducting an internal analysis, which measures business performance and identifies niches in your growth market.
Assessing threats, or risks – making a point to dwell on the worst-case scenario – isn’t fun, and can be downright scary, but is well worth doing. It will help you anticipate problems down the line and put in countermeasures to head them off.
It can also define your escape strategy – how will you withdraw if expansion doesn’t work out?
Recruit good people
For many business people, the first time you leave the shop, kitchen or office in someone else’s hands, after years of being in sole control, can be a nerve-wracking moment.
In fact, more than a third of small businesses say finding skilled staff is a barrier to their growth.
Any employee is an investment, not only in terms of salary but also the costs of recruitment, pensions, and training. Recruiting the right person can supercharge your business, while the wrong person can be a liability.
So, whether it’s recruiting your first employee or increasing the size of your team, it’s important to make sure new team members buy into your vision, are able to represent the values of the business, and have the skills your business will need as it expands.
Can we help?
One of the core values of our Love Your Business service focuses on growth, offering you an initial half-day growth plan plus a monthly hour-long phone call to follow up on your progress.
Get in touch to see how our services can help you.