Everyone wants their small businesses to grow, but it doesn’t take much for progress to get out of control. As a small business owner, you might find yourself struggling with a wide variety of problems ranging from an overwhelming workload to unusual HR issues. If you want to maintain sustainable growth, then you need to take a fresh, strategic look at the future of your company.
1. Conduct Market Research
No matter what industry you are in, market research is absolutely vital to your success. Without clear and accurate data, you don’t know where to invest your time and energy. Market research will also help you avoid common mistakes such as expanding into the wrong area or investing in technology that is about to be obsolete.
2. Hire the Right Way
Unlike many larger companies, a single new employee can have a major impact on a smaller business. Instead of only hiring employees who have specific hard skills such as knowing certain programming languages, you want to be sure that each of your new staff members can help out wherever they are needed. While hiring and training a new employee is a major investment, a high employee turnover rate will drive your company into the ground.
3. Know When to Outsource
Even with a great team behind you, there may come a point when it makes more sense to work with an outside contractor. Projects such as building a website or creating a series of logos can eventually be completed by most people, but it might not be worth it to hire someone to do it. Therefore, unless it is an ongoing project that needs constant attention, outsourcing might save you time and money.
4. Don’t Ignore Your Debt
As a growing business, you may take on quite a bit of debt. Debt is serious, and should never be taken lightly or ignored, as doing so could result in irreparable financial damage to your company. Growth, however, takes capital, and taking out loans is an alternative to accepting funding from investors who expect to earn a return on that investment. This is a normal part of business expansion. However, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your business debt always remains manageable. Having a budget and sticking to it is by far the best way to make sure that you don’t end up in more debt than your business’ cash flow can cover. However, if you do discover that your debts are beginning to pile up, then you need to take action as soon as possible.
Consolidating debt from multiple creditors to one can make the debt easier to manage and budget for, as well as potentially reduce the interest you are paying. If your debt gets seriously out of hand, you may need to consider filing a business bankruptcy. While this option exists as a lifeline for business owners in just this situation, it comes with its own costs and credit consequences. The effects of this decision will factor into your business for years to come, so you should always be certain it really is your best option before you file.
5. Consider Franchising
Opening multiple locations is a great way to expand a business, but it can also be quite stressful for an owner. Franchising is an excellent alternative to running multiple stores or finding reliable managers who can run your stores when you are not there. Every new franchise that is opened will give you an immediate influx of cash with significantly less risk.
Progress is about much more than simply selling more products or finding new clients. You need to make sure that the foundation of your company is solid enough to continue supporting your growth as profits and expenses increase.
About the Author
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara is the youngest of four. She has two hilarious brothers and one beautiful sister. She also is the aunt of 5 crazy little girls that she loves more than anything!! Kara loves being around kids and being like a second mom to her nieces. If your business has taken on more debt than you can handle, Kara recommends consulting with a financial or business attorney to explore aid options.