Things to Consider When Growing your Small Business
If you have created a formidable business app that you love, you will do everything you can to make a success of it. For illustrative purposes, let’s say your company bakes and delivers vegan cupcakes under the brand VupCakes. You’ve developed and put together some of the tastiest flavored Vupcakes known to humankind. You have a shop, stalls at multiple weekend Farmer’s Markets, you have the best coffee shops in the area on your books, and have just started home delivery.
Great! Amazing, in fact! The orders are pouring in; you are interviewing more staff and might even open another shop across town or branch out to another city. But what next? You have the vegan cupcakes down, but what about your business? What is the best way to grow and evolve your business? Your ten-year plan is to sell up, so how do you make your business look good? This article looks at some next steps to consider when growing your small business, no matter what industry or niche you work in.
Plan Your Growth
In the early days, your business is your life. You think nothing of putting in sixteen-hour shifts. You know where you are and where you want to be. You have a business plan and update and improve it every three months. So, maybe the same should happen with your growth. Business growth is not a given, just like any living entity, be it a plant, a relationship, or even a baby. For it to be the best possible version of itself, it must be tended to, loved, cared for, and nurtured.
There are many ways to do this and lots of online advice from the formal, like advice from the .gov sites on growing your business in your country, informal groups, and there are plenty of communities on LinkedIn and Facebook, which you should be using for your business anyway. Many of these community groups on social media are specific to a geographical location; others not so much. If they are the former, you might be able to arrange a face-to-face meet-up, assuming covid rules allow.
The point is that planning your business’s growth is key and should not be left to chance.
Digital File Management
In today’s world, many of your business’s assets will be digital. Important documents (like your cupcake recipes or a blog for tips on baking), images for social media campaigns, invoices, receipts, and other financial information, branding material, documents, contacts, the list goes on and on.
Its important that these assets are easy to find and secure, so working out the best solution is vital. Some people choose just to save them in folders on their laptops with the idea of creating a better solution later, but tomorrow often never comes. Folder-based systems are often plagued with problems. Can you remember where you saved that attachment or that idea that came to you in the middle of the night? Instead, as you grow your business, you might find yourself in need of using DAM software, otherwise known as Digital Asset Management.
What you need from a digital asset management system may be different depending on who you are, your business, your management style, who will be accessing and managing these assets. The following are key factors to consider when choosing the best solution:
- How easy is itto upload and manage? Can you drag and drop?
- Can your assets be accessed from anywhere in the world?
- How secure is it? You don’t want information falling into the hands of your competitors.
- Will you need to upload files one at a time?
- Can you make use of tagging for a quick recovery?
- What is the sorting and filtering option like?
Your exact needs will depend on what you want from a DAM system, and it’s important to think about this when weighing up the options.
Many businesses need more funding after the first years. You may want to open new stores, create new products, hire fresh staff in order to grow. Or you may be trying to break into new countries and need ISO 27001 (UK) or SOC (US) certification to show that your security and business processes are up to scratch. If your eventual plan for your business is a buyout, additional funding could be vital. As well as showing that you have a workable product, a proven market and that your staff and processes run smoothly, you will need to prove your business uses best practices, has the right people in the right roles, and a growth strategy.
These strategies take time and often specialist knowledge to effect. Employing (often expensive) consultants could be the way to prove these capabilities, so additional funding could be key.
Extra funding can be obtained from several diverse sources. You may be able to find private investors, apply for a small business loan from an established bank or obtain government grants for specific business ideas. Some business owners prefer to use a business loan broker, and, of course, crowdfunding is another popular choice. With this, you can give away future products or services in exchange for cash.
What About a Mentor?
Finding a mentor may be a good option to consider, especially if you started the business by yourself or are the main or only shareholder, manager, or business leader. A mentor could not only point you in the right direction when it comes to growing your small business; they are also a wonderful way to bounce ideas of someone else who may not be as close to your business as you are.
Growing your business with these tips
This article has just looked at four business growth ideas. There are as many ways to grow a business as there are small businesses, and there may not be a wrong or right way for you to grow your business. It is your business, after all, and possibly, the best option for you is to go with your gut. Whichever path you choose, good luck and keep going!