If you’ve taken the plunge into owning a small business, then you might harbor dreams of growth and wealth. While ambition is crucial to successfully running a small business, you should use it as a motivator and not as an end in itself. The key to any successful small business is a well-crafted business plan. Playing it by ear will doom you from the start.
Good business planning entails putting yourself on the right footing for losses as well as growth. If you don’t position yourself for growth from the beginning, you might find yourself struggling to deal with it if your business does begin to take off. Considering growth and how to handle it from the beginning might put you in a better position to manage growth successfully.
Start with a Strong Management Model
Even if your business starts out as a one-person operation, you should write a plan that forms the basis for expanding management roles. Knowing how to fragment oversight and accountability can help you navigate growth smoothly.
As a business grows, its internal logistics become more complex. You can’t do it alone, so you’ll need to hire people to help you. You should define their roles from the beginning. Knowing how to implement the fragmentation of roles and responsibilities could make your business operate more efficiently.
Communication is also important in this area. In addition to knowing the roles of your management and their subordinates, you should also make certain that each person understands their roles, too. Communicating these roles can ensure that everyone plays their part without creating confusion or chaos.
Trust the People You Hire
No business can succeed without attracting talent. Employing talented and able people can aid your business through growth. Ideally, these are people who understand your business, how to cultivate consumers, and how to satisfy your customers’ needs. Finding the right talent is important for any business venture.
Equally important is the trust you place in the people you employ. Constantly challenging or undermining them could create a toxic work environment that restricts your employees’ abilities to perform their tasks. It might even prevent them from implementing new ideas, which could stagnate a new business. You must trust their judgement while approaching it with a healthy dose of skepticism. Don’t embrace every new idea or tactic; instead, weigh the pros against the cons and give your employees leeway to implement the best strategies and tactics.
Existence, Survival, Success
The three most crucial stages to successfully running a small business entail establishing its existence, maintaining its survival, and managing its success. When you establish your business, you must be certain you’re offering goods or services people actually want. Just because something interests or moves you, it doesn’t mean that it’ll interest or move other people. The best route to establishing a successful small business is to find a need and attempt to fill it. This decision, more than any other, could put you on the right footing to success.
Struggling for survival is another necessary step on the way to success. Once you’ve established your business, you must navigate its early stages. Most businesses expect to operate with minimal funds at this stage. Some manage to break even and some even run at a loss. The point during this stage is to grow your business in increments. As counterintuitive as it may seem, growing too fast could plunge your business into debt and chaos, the kind of which you might not be able to manage.
“Take everything in stride. Growth in short bursts is key -- get action, manage the action, get more action, manage and implement processes for that action.” - Jonathan Furman, Founder and CEO of Furman Transformation
If you’ve managed to grow your business in increments, you must tweak your management models, pricing models, quality control, inventory control, and so on to coincide with the growth of your business. The key is to maintain efficiency while growing. You must also understand how to calculate your sustainable growth rate to help guide your business through its stages of growth.
Running a small business entails many duties and areas of expertise. You must consider every possibility before you establish your business. While you should harbor a sense of confidence, you can’t allow any delusions. You’re not a genius. You need other people. They can help you understand facets of business you might not fully understand or appreciate. They can also approach your business with fresh eyes, offering input that you may not have previously considered.
You must allow your position to maintain a level of malleability. As your business grows and changes, so should your approach to it. Understanding the pitfalls of a growing business and how to navigate them can put you on the right path to managing small business growth successfully.