Starting a business is incredibly exciting, but once the honeymoon period is over and survival looks likely, you must turn your attention to an equally challenging task – growing your company.
There are very few new businesses that can avoid growing pains, so if your business has to expand to reach your goals, there are numerous ways you can do it. You must follow your business plan, which will have the steps required to expand the business with a broader customer reach or diversifying products and services.
Avoid the temptation to fly by the seat of your pants, i.e. jump on the first bandwagon you hear about and pour what precious resources you have into a strategy you’ve not planned. So remember, what works for one business may not be right for another.
Instead, it would help if you had a range of potential growth strategies at your disposal so that you can make the best possible decision.
Furthermore, you must have a strong reason (ideally evidence) to want to expand your start-up. Simply doing it feels like the most sensible option is not good enough because growth does not equal prosperity.
Is Your Business Ready To Grow?
Remember, successful businesses don’t happen overnight. Don’t be surprised if you hear an entrepreneur say: our overnight success took ten years.
Revert back to your business plan and assess the health of your business before commencing your strategies for growth.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business.
Every seasoned business owner will tell you that cash flow is the lifeblood of a business – and if it dries up, your startup can wither and die overnight. This is no easy task because there is no guaranteeing if and when clients buy from you.
You may have too many orders to cope with one month and then none for the next three months. This topsy-turvy cash flow can make it impossible for your startup to survive, let alone thrive.
Therefore this is where good management systems add value to iron out the peaks and troughs in business activity, including platforms that manage:
- customer relationship management
- marketing automation
- workflow management
- online accounting software
Plus, to manage cash flow, there is invoice factoring. To overcome potential delays between your invoices being lodged and your client paying you – you could incorporate a form of invoice factoring.
Invoice factoring allows you to access the money you are owed by a client as soon as you lodge the invoice – by handing the invoice over to a finance firm who agrees to pay you upfront to receive the original payment from your client then.
It can be used as a solution if your clients do not usually pay quickly, and you need immediate payment, maintaining a steady cash flow as a result. Once you have a healthy cash flow, you can form a solid foundation to grow off of.
Take on staff in new areas.
If you want to grow your startup, you’re likely to need to take on additional staff. Of course, this is always a risk when you are just starting out. If your customer base dries up, you are left with many staff wages and no money to pay them with.
However, if you have a strong cash flow, it may be worth taking on new employees with skills to expand in new areas. This additional skill set will help you expand at a faster pace.
Look after your clients
You don’t have to leave your existing customer base to expand your business.
Many startups looking to grow to face the danger of reaching new areas without alienating their existing customer base.
Your existing customers were likely attracted to your brand precisely because you are a small business with particular products on offer that suit their needs.
Once you start trying to take on more employees, expand your product ranges and move into new markets, these customers may feel that what made you great in the first place has been lost.
Although you will never fully protect yourself against this risk (and indeed, it may be a risk you are willing to take for long term stability), you can help keep your existing customers happy by training new employees to adhere to your brand ethos and keep quality control at the heart of everything you do.
Most businesses need to keep growing, and they need the right fundamentals to do it successfully. Prepare your startup for the next phase using these tips. Do you want to read more on the top of start-ups? See this search.