Growing your small business is hard work, but it’s not impossible.
You can’t expect to simply start a business and become rich overnight: Success stems from major investments of time and energy.
The good news is that you’re not completely on your own. We’re here to help. What follows is a brief five-step blueprint that should help small business owners establish and operate successful companies.
1. Develop a fantastic business plan
You may have the best business idea ever conceived, but if you don’t spend enough time putting together a comprehensive business plan, it can be extremely difficult to meet your goals.
Small business owners’ days are chaotic by design. It can be difficult to focus on the big picture when you’re constantly dealing with smaller issues that pop up throughout the day. After putting together a business plan, your objectives will be extremely clear. You’ll know exactly where to delegate tasks, and it will be easier to track your progress.
2. Hire the right people
Even the hardest-working small business owners can’t do everything on their own. In order to grow a company, employees need to be hired sooner or later.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to grow your business if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder to check on your employees. You have your own responsibilities, after all, and there are only so many hours in the day.
Do your due diligence to make sure you’re hiring the best people to work for you. Be honest and transparent, and don’t be miserly when it comes to compensation. You don’t want to risk turning top talent away.
3. Manage your cash flow like a master
If you want your business to succeed, you need access to cash—it’s that simple. Your landlord probably wouldn’t be too happy with you if you couldn’t make rent, for example, and your employees would likely look for work elsewhere if their paychecks were routinely late.
Growing your small business requires a mastery of cash flow management. You need to always be aware of how much money is in your bank account, how much money you need to pay out in the near term, and how much money your clients need to pay you. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to spot any cash flow gaps from a mile away.
In addition to forecasting, you need to be aware of what financial tools can be used to help manage your cash flow. For example, you can use Fundbox to advance payments on outstanding invoices. You then have 12 weeks to repay the loan, plus a small fee.
4. Keep your expenses to a minimum
When growing your small business, it is essential that you do everything within your power to keep your expenses as low as you possibly can. Are you sure that you’re getting the best deal on office space? Do you even need office space in the first place? What about your communications bill—are you paying too much?
Small business owners need to get in the habit of taking a look at their recurring expenses on a regular basis to see whether any reasonable reductions can be made by switching vendors.
5. Never stop innovating
One of the main reasons Borders was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2011 was because the company misjudged the impact the internet would have on its core business. Instead of building its own e-commerce website, Borders essentially outsourced those responsibilities to a then-up-and-coming internet company called Amazon. The rest is history.
Even when they are doing well, successful businesses never stop innovating. They are constantly trying to come up with new products or services or tap into new markets—and your business should too!