The early stages of running your own business involve a lot of paperwork and preparation. Especially if you are applying for grants for small business, it can be a long process. Getting an office space, bank account, marketing strategy and means of selling your products/services can take a while to do, but once you see sales rising, all that effort becomes worthwhile. However, further preparation is needed for the next phase – growth.
With extra business, there comes a greater need for the capacity to cope with it, from your premises to the staff. So, what should entrepreneurs do to deal with any upturn in business? Here are some tips on how to avoid growing pains and manage more customers with ease.
Keep In Touch With Investors
The best thing you can do to prepare for business growth is keep in touch with your funding sources, whether they are shareholders, angel investors or venture capital firms. The more your business grows, the more money you will need to keep it going. Growth financing is hard to find, just like it is hard to figure out how to improve productivity. That is, unless you keep in touch with your startup funding sources. Maintain those relationships so that you can possibly use them as a source of growth funding in the future. This will help you navigate the trials of rapid business growth.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a vital tool for any entrepreneur who wants to understand their clients’ wants and needs. It’s there to record sales, repeat sales and how much money each client spends on each product or service, as well as quite a few other stats. This is why having a Salesforce backup is so important. However, there are quite a few popular CRM suites to choose from, offering different tools.
At a push, you could use spreadsheet software like Excel, Sheets or Access for all your business’s CRM needs. However, for a small fee, CRM software can do all the legwork for you, recording every interaction, positive or negative, with each customer. From the data you see on your screen, it enables you to see what you’re doing right and where room for improvement lies.
Identify New Markets
If you have already cracked the market for your business in one area, like serviced offices, it makes sense to branch out elsewhere. Retailers can do this by opening a new shop or expanding their online store, whilst entrepreneurs can offer some new services. However you do it, market research is an absolute necessity, particularly if you’re competing in a crowded marketplace.
For market research, there are many avenues to explore, including Twitter tools. Asking customers what they want more of through social media and dedicated survey sites is one. Analytics-based apps that allow you to see what people are talking about and searching for online and even good old-fashioned search engines can help you to find new markets, fast.
Simplify Your Accounts
Accounting can, at times, be a time-consuming task for entrepreneurs. Fortunately, a lot of the hard work that goes into managing money can be outsourced. Using someone like RSM Global for tax and auditing can save your business a lot of time, leaving you to focus on the important task of growing your clientele.
In giving someone else the job of doing that, you also save on the cost of hiring a full-time or even part-time member of staff. Even if business is booming for you, a little money saved is always welcome, especially if you are worried about hiring someone who is not up to the task of doing your taxes.
Be More Flexible
With growth, your business will have all kinds of new challenges to face. Will you be able to cope with increased demand for your products/services? Do you need to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule? Is your current setup sufficient for dealing with more customers? You will have to make a few changes to ensure you’re ready to grow in a manageable way. You may consider implementing a scanlon plan in the business.
Flexibility is a must for any entrepreneur, particularly when business improves. If you need to move to a bigger office, look into it. If you are working way more than 40 hours a week, hire someone to take on some of the paperwork. If you need funds, look for any grants and tax schemes that are available – there are a few which are backed by the UK government.
When flexibility is needed, try to spot the problem quickly. If you don’t act soon, there’s a chance that said problem could become harder to fix, impacting on your business’s ability to grow.
Image from http://www.publishyourarticles.net/eng/articles2/4-important-reasons-for-growth-of-large-scale-entrepreneurs-in-india/2708/