Starting your own business can be one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in your life. Of course, you can always take the regular, nine to five route, but being an entrepreneur, your own boss…well, there’s nothing like it.
The potential money you can make, the control over your own time, the type of work you can do – all these benefits make the long, grueling hours’ worth it. But, this also means you will need all the help you can get. You need some indication of progress, some guide before you start making actual money. This is where we come in.
This article outlines the 3 stages of small business growth. You will know what to focus on, how to focus, what to keep in mind and what to avoid. Think of this as a guide that will show whether or not you’re going in the right direction.
Small Business Growth Stages
First, you obviously need to decide what you’re going to do. What kind of product or service do you want to provide? Can you do it, do you have the expertise? Can you develop said expertise, or find somebody who has it?
You need to figure out what your ideal customer is and how to find them. What do they want, how to prepare and delegate. Find your niche, see what it is that you do best, and go after it.
Write everything down on paper, and seek out advice. Talk to people who have been in the field you are interested in for years. See what they have to say, what they did right, what they did wrong. Be humble and curious. This phase is all about learning and preparation. It’s about choosing the proper direction.
Once you set up a good foundation during the beginning stage, you can then add and develop layers to your business. Now, of course, this all ties in with the previous segment, namely, knowing what you are aiming at and being aware of what you want to accomplish.
In this stage, you see how the all that planning and strategizing, in the beginning, panned out. You need to change and adapt accordingly. Your long-term growth is dependent on utilizing what you learned and applying it properly.
You may want, now, to expand and attack new markets, but don’t. That’s for the next phase, for now, you need to consolidate completely your place in your niche. Refine and focus, then refine and focus some more.
Note that during this stage you will notice any cracks and flaws in your original strategy. This can then indicate what you need to change and fix.
However, sometimes, you may need to start over completely. It’s best to do it now and change your plan, then move on to the next several phases where you can not only lose money but lose your whole business.
3. Growth and expansion
Let’s imagine you’re set up in, for example, Australia. Your headquarters are in Melbourne, and you want to open another branch in Sydney. This is the growth phase, the time where you branch out, your partner up, you spread your business and you start making real money. But it also comes with a couple of factors that you need to keep in mind.
One is that you need to maintain momentum. You must not stop now, you must not slow down or rest, because at this phase taking a breather will not keep you in place. No, it will set you back. If you don’t move, you will fall behind.
Another factor is delegation. You need to invest your time properly, you can’t handle day to day regular matters anymore. You need to delegate as much as you can and leave as much room and energy for creating new strategies and expanding. So, don’t worry about transferring some less tasks and obligations onto your employees. And if you are truly worried about not having one single person you can delegate tasks to, then you should train them.
This is not something that is negotiable. If you can’t create more free time for yourself and invest it into planning and strategy, your work will suffer greatly. You will not be able to evolve and reach the next level.
Also, what comes with growth is the need for more office space. And when it comes to your office, you should really take good care about how you are going to incorporate everything.
There are studies that show how the design of your office can affect your employees productivity, so you should make sure and brush up on your interior design knowledge (or just hire someone who knows what he’s doing and where to look for functional and affordable office desks in Sydney, Melbourne, or wherever you are based).
Then, finally, it’s time to branch out. See what other areas you can conquer. Its best if its, of course, similar to your line of business already. But don’t be surprised by what you have learned.
You may, for example, based your business around selling automotive tires. Along the way you made a ton of connections and gained a lot of knowledge regarding carburetor oil. This example may seem banal, but trust us, business can be found on the most tenuousness of connections and locations.
We hope this article has been informative and that it will give you something to think about. Starting your own small business is a daunting task, but if you just set up a proper plan, you will certainly see success.
All it takes is some patience and a lot of hard work. And remember, you can and should branch out, but only when you’re ready and when your core is nice and stable. Otherwise, you can get ahead of yourself and end up in a lot of trouble.
Author: Chloe Smith is a design enthusiast and a business consultant for Value office furniture in Sydney, always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When she’s not working, she’s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).