|Basics for Business Growth||| Print ||
Remember all the planning and research that went into starting your small business? Hopefully, that effort has paid off with results that are, at the very least, meeting your expectations. Now, you need to maintain your short-term success well into the future.
Revisit Your Business Plan
Watch Those Numbers
Delegate Time-consuming Tasks
Watch the Big Picture
To Grow or Not to Grow
In a new business, there will too soon come a time when you will need help with your business; or you will need new machinery, or you will be offered a very large contract and have a decision to make about the future of your business. Should you take the job? What effect will it have on the future of your company? Can you handle it alone?
Two growth areas usually become apparent fairly early on... equipment and personnel.
As to personnel, I have, of course, hired permanent staff members. The first was an office assistant to take care of the details of everyday office life. Then there were project managers hired over the years. Some worked for me as consultants and were then hired and others were either referred to me by associates or found through classified ads.
The main body of staff, however, has been consultants expert in their respective fields that I could hire and use as needed to beef up my staff for either large projects or to handle many projects at the same time. This method both saved my business money on taxes and benefits and made it easier to bill clients.
As for equipment, there have been times when I had to decide what to buy or what to lease. If you know that a certain piece of machinery will be used for many jobs then of course it would be wise to look into purchasing it. Sometimes though your plans would not call for using the same machinery over and over so leasing would be the better option.
Always keep in mind the direction the purchase will take your business. Sometimes there are considerations other than money. If you have a family and want to spend time with them, or have something else that is important to you, and were to take a contract that you know will take away from this time with your family, is it something you would want to do? Quality of life issues are more important today than they were in the past and are very personal decisions.
I have a fully stocked shop downstairs from my office that has been used for making prototypes and performing experiments; however, when I worked on ultrasonic packaging issues I didn't buy a machine that would have cost me thousands of dollars. Instead I leased one that I could use for the duration of the job. The same was true when I needed medical equipment that I knew I would not need again.
Computer equipment is another story. It usually is wise to buy better equipment than you need because technology is moving ahead so fast that what you buy today probably will be outdated tomorrow. If you are just starting out there are lease programs available through major retailers and office supply companies.
Each time an issue arises you must think the solution through based on the direction you want your business to go. This is where true entrepreneurs excel!