5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Business Expanded
Growth in business in inevitable. Startup companies are the fastest growing industry in the world. In fact, according to Equidam, most start-up businesses can expect an average growth of 120% the first year, 80% the second year, and 60% the third year. My company has followed similar trends, and I have seen 500% growth in my own company in the two years. Due to the nature of my business, I have had the opportunity to speak to other small business owners about their growing pains. Through these conversations, I had found five common themes small business owners wish they had known before their companies experienced significant growth:
Have a Growth Plan
This is something I share with all my clients, be ready for growth! Even if growth doesn’t seem possible in the beginning, it is essential to anticipate the growth of the business. Create a growth strategy, and map out what growth will look like for the first three years. Determine what gaps of knowledge exist, what tools will be needed, and what will be needed to manage the growth. Having a growth plan allows the business owner to know what to focus on as the business moves through different phases.
Use a Project Management Tool
A Project Management Tool provides access to a growing pipeline of work and projects. A Project management tool allows the business owner to track all projects (the past, present, future) and provides the ability to work smarter instead of harder. Tools like Asana, Teamwork, Trello or Basecamp are great places to start and can store reoccurring templates and projects so as you grow you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you have a similar project.
Make It Easy to Communicate
I am going, to be honest, I hate email. Email inboxes quickly get bogged down with junk, and my inbox receives hundreds of messages a day. It’s important to have a place to communicate with clients effectively. I have found an amazing app called SLACK as a way to stay on top of client real time communication. Remember the bigger you get as a company the more demands are put on your time, you don’t want to get stuck spending countless hours trying to find that one critical email. If you haven’t discovered SLACK yet, it is a game changer.
82% of small businesses will fail due to cash flow problems. It is important to stay on top of expenses, revenue and investments. While a simple spreadsheet can work initially, as a business grows a more robust program will be required. I prefer Quickbooks, Freshdesk or bench.co (For US based clients), if your budget allows, this is where I recommend outsourcing. Unless you are a professional bookkeeper or CPA, let someone else handle your books.
Get a Team In Place
If you’re struggling to make money, this will feel impossible to implement. However, proactively getting a team in place, or at least having a team in standby mode, will make the growth manageable. Successful business owners can NOT do it all, and the sooner this is recognized, the faster the business will grow. The focus of the owner should be on strategy and expansion, and not be doing the routine tasks. Hiring the right team is critical for long-term success (this entire topic is another blog post for another day).
By following these five recommendations, business owners will be better prepared for the growth of the company. Create a growth plan, use a project management tool, find an easy way to communicate with clients, track the finances, and get a team in place. Seems pretty simple, but is often times overlooked, now go out there and make some money!
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Dawn Sinkule, the Founder of Digital Dawn, is an MBA graduate, Strategy and Business Growth Consultant as well as a Certified Online Business Manager with more than 16 years of corporate experience working for a Fortune 50 company. Dawn and her team work with passionate six figure business owners who want to grow, expand, and explode their businesses. Dawn and the DD team provide your choice of self-implementation or fully done for you solutions, and both include detailed business strategies, automation, systems, and most importantly the satisfaction of knowing your business is heading the right direction. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success.