How to keep up with your growing business
Being in charge of a growing business is good news – but it also brings a different level of challenge. On the one hand, you can pat yourself on the back for having landed on an idea for a product or service that is clearly in demand. You can reflect on the fact that you were able to attract the custom needed to get your enterprise off the ground and establish firm foundations. However, you can’t rest on your laurels. Complacency in business will inevitably lead to failure.
So, what challenges do you face when you are growing – and what do you need to do to keep up with the pace.
Taking on staff
Growth means more work, which means you need more people to do this work. This does, however, leave you with a difficult decision to make. Taking on employees is not cheap – and that’s not just because of the salary that you’ll need to pay. In fact, it’s wise to add 20 per cent on top of a salary to come up with the true cost of employing someone. Clearly, talented people with the skills you need will more than pay for themselves in the long run but growing your payroll too much too soon will leave you with a big financial burden. You might well need to think about contractors or freelance support before you move on to employing a big team.
Managing your workload
If you’re taking on bigger projects and bigger orders, your workload is likely to get more complicated. That might well mean handing over control of tasks you’d previously been in sole charge of in the past, for example. It might also mean that you need to develop a new project management system so that you can allocate tasks and properly track the progress of a project. There’s plenty of software out there to help you with this, take some time to research the program that works best for your business.
As well as managing your workload effectively once you get orders in, you need to learn how to manage expectations for projects. You need to think about how to estimate the amount of time it will take to fulfil tasks so that you can accurately quote for work and set appropriate time frames. It’s very easy to take on too much and deliver work late – which can damage your reputation – if you’re not careful with this. It might be a case of trial and error, but make sure you put time and effort into accurately calculating the time you need to deliver work as you grow.
Managing cash flow
The bigger your business, the more money you can earn, right? Well, that might be the case, but only once your invoices are actually paid. You need to issue invoices as soon as you’ve delivered a product or service and develop a system for chasing overdue payments. If you take on extra staff and equipment to fulfil a big order, then you’ll need to ensure the money comes in to pay your bills.
Website fit for purpose
Many businesses rely on their website to be able to attract new customers. Even if you don’t directly sell products online, this is likely to be a place where people will find out about your company and take a look at what you have to offer. As you grow you need your website to be able grow too. You might want to start selling products with it, to upgrade the look so that you give off the best impression or just improve the performance so that you don’t suffer downtime and can cope with more traffic than you used to receive at the very start. Check out your hosting package to ensure that your site has the capacity for growth.
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