Everyone wants to grow their small business, but some owners can't fully focus on growing their business. It seems like there is always too much to do and never enough time. Growth planning tends to easily get pushed down the schedule as the day to day tasks unfold. Things always seem to come up like the unexpected meeting, emails, phone calls and pressing issues that need to be resolved right away. It is important to focus on growing your small business and to make the adequate time each week to focus on important business issues, not just what is in front of you at the moment.
One of the keys to scaling a business is a process that is detailed, documented and repeatable. When most small businesses are founded the first thought is to acquire customers. This kind of reminds me about the old saying putting the cart before the horse; it just doesn't make sense. It can be difficult to create your processes when you are first starting out with your new venture because it seems like the most important thing to do is start making money. I would imagine the majority of new businesses do not think about, nor document their processes before they start selling. Process is the key to scaling and if I ever start a business again I will be sure to have thoroughly detailed processes before doing anything.
Marketing and Sales
When you have a process in place the next step is to get customers. A strong process is like a hungry animal; all you have to do is feed it. Sales and marketing can be a struggle for some businesses because they may not have any prior experience in these areas. Many small businesses may not even think about how they are going to create leads and convert them to customers until they meet the obstacle head on. Most business owners know what they do and they know why customers should buy from them, they just may not know how to convince them to do so. The bottom line is your business won't be around long if you can't create any sales and it is pretty difficult to make sales without some sort of marketing plan. You may want to consider a marketing expert or sales coach to help you out.
Financial Reporting and Analysis
After your business is up and running you can't be content with its performance without measuring it against some sort of benchmark. After being asked how business is I often see business owners look at their online bank balance. Just because there is money in the bank does not mean business is going well. You need to create a forecast and budget and be sure to regularly perform financial reporting for your small business to understand how your business is doing. It is important to have a solid bookkeeping system in place that is updated regularly; not just once a month. You should be glancing at your financial performance once a week and you will need your books updated often for that to happen. Once you have solid numbers and your prior month is closed you should do a thorough financial analysis of your business. We aim to have the books closed by the 5th and certainly no later than the 10th of each month for the prior month's financial data.
Adjustments Based on Results
Lastly, after you have analyzed the performance of your business you need to make any necessary adjustments. Successful entrepreneurs know how to pivot based on the current conditions they are facing. Your financial analysis can surface not only problems, but potential opportunities. I think a lot of owners look at financial reports only looking for expenses to cut. I agree that you should always look for expenses that can be decreased, but you should also be looking for opportunities for your business. What you need to understand is that most businesses don't become successful by doing the same thing over and over. Challenges will come up and markets will change, which will require some sort of adjustment on your part if you want your business to succeed. You can't make adjustments if you are not measuring and analyzing your financial results.
This is not a magic formula for growing your small business, but rather a framework. There are many aspects that you need to focus on to grow your business and I only highlighted a few that I think are extremely important. In order to grow the one thing you definitely need is focus. Make the time on your calendar each day to really work on growing your business.
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