Scale your business without sacrificing your lifestyle
Small business owners can rarely be accused of resting on their laurels. These enterprising, resourceful and passionate types are always looking for ways to improve themselves and their enterprises to add value for their customers and gain market trust in their services. Let’s be honest here, nobody starts their own business for an easy life. And just because your business starts small that doesn’t mean that you want it to remain small.
Entrepreneurs with drive and ambition often have their sights set on global domination (the good kind, not the Bond villain kind). They have complete faith in their products, their services, their branding and themselves. And while this is utterly commendable, there’s a right way and a wrong way to grow your business.
The Hulk’s Pants- Why scalability is the key to sustainable growth
Okay, bear with this analogy!
We’d like you to think for a moment about the Hulk’s pants. Those poor shredded purple tatters that were once perfectly functional (if not very fashionable) leg wear. As anyone who’s ever read a comic knows, when Dr. Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns green and grows exponentially in a matter of seconds… much to the chagrin of his tailor.
If your business grows exponentially within a short space of time, you may not have the infrastructure to support that growth. The net result? You’ll inevitably be stretched too thin... much like the Hulk’s pants!
Work / life balance matters!
Entrepreneurial burnout is a real threat that can seriously endanger your mental health, make you miserable at a time when you should be most joyful and make you a nightmare to be around both for your family and colleagues. Just like the Hulk (but we’re dropping that analogy now).
If you have growth in mind, here are some tips to help you to scale your business up without destroying your lifestyle or decimating your work / life balance.
Invest in a virtual office address
Running your business out of your home? It’s certainly a great way to save on overheads and build a profitable foundation for your business. But a residential address for your business can just scream “amateur hour” for some clients.
Avoiding the urge to splurge when it comes to overheads like prestigious urban office space can be a good way to ensure that your business is scalable. But it can also hold you back in terms of how you are perceived. A virtual office can give your business a prestigious address in the city of your choice making the right impression on the kinds of clients that pay more.
Make sure you have the cash flow you need to make capital investments
Growth doesn’t come from doing more of the exact same thing. Or, to be fair, it can… but this is exactly what we’re talking about when it comes to unsustainable growth (don’t make me invoke those Hulk pants again).
Sustainable growth needs to be buoyed by capital investment. This means knowing that you can invest in a new piece of equipment, a new software tool or a bargain batch of inventory without placing too much strain on your cash flow and damaging your relationship with vendors.
Thus, you should always take steps to ensure that your cash flow is smooth and that you have enough in reserve to take advantage of the right capital investments to facilitate growth.
Some useful ways to boost cash flow include;
- Throw a sale- If you have inventory gathering dust on the shelves, it might be worth taking a hit on your profit margins to improve liquidity.
- Sell old equipment when you replace it- Why not lend a hand to a startup trying to make it behind you?
- Offer discounts for quick payment- Most businesses would rather have 10% less for payment in 24 hours than 10% more for payment in a month.
Invest in your team
Training and developing your team takes time and costs money. But if you demonstrate your willingness to invest in them, they’ll make themselves worth every penny! While it’s your vision, your insight and your strategy that chart the course to growth for your business, it’s the people behind you who will help to get you there.
Behind every happy customer who chooses to come back time after time, behind every rave review that adds to your social proof, and every interaction that makes your business shine, there’s a member of your team doing sterling work. The more you can rely on your team, the less you have to intervene on their behalf and the more you can focus on your work / life balance.
Make sure that you invest in their training not just when onboarding them but throughout their career journey with you. Fail to do this and your team members could cross the road into the open arms of your competitors. And when you have a high employee turnover it’s much harder to...
Maintain quality and consistency
Consistent quality is one of the keys to sustainable growth. Unfortunately, it’s also always the first casualty when you try to take on too much too fast. When your reach exceeds your grasp you may well find that you and your team are stretched too thin and you have neither the time nor the energy to ensure the kind of quality that your brand can build its reputation upon.
And when you have growth in mind, your reputation goes a long way.
Find yourself a good virtual assistant and /or receptionist
The great thing about virtual receptionists is that they give your small business the glossy and professional veneer that clients expect from a big business. They can lend your brand a certain sense of prestige. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They can also help you with the organisation and management that are essential in scaling up your business. With a range of call-forwarding and answering services they can ensure that you waste less time on fielding calls so you can spend more time making the right strategic choices.
Virtual assistants can also lighten your administrative load and help you to better manage your busy schedule so that you can squeeze the maximum productivity out of every day!