The first two years of running a business can be very testing, as many business gurus may have already essentially told you. However, if you have managed to navigate those particular choppy waters and come out the other side onto an expanse of still water, you can sigh in relief.
Nonetheless, now you have a new challenge: building upon those foundations that have been proven sufficiently solid to weather the storm. In what direction should you turn for growth?
Prevent your cash flow veering out of control
Easier said than done, perhaps, for a novice businessperson. However, you can win much of the battle if you succeed in establishing close track of where your money is coming and going.
Otherwise, you could severely misjudge your company’s financial position and so throw its growth trajectory into disarray. If things are veering off course, you could nudge your boat back into the right position by trimming expenditure and chasing unpaid invoices, The Guardian reveals.
Diligently tackle the issue of late payments
It’s difficult to put long-held plans into action if they rely on money that doesn’t quite arrive into your company’s coffers when it should. This is why late payments continue to hinder the efficiency of many small businesses, but this doesn’t strictly prevent you from tackling the issue in your case.
Keenly monitor your business finances to identify clients who tend to pay late. You could deter such sloppiness by hitting them with interest penalties and offering discounts for early payment in future.
Pay more attention to margin than turnover
Many small businesses make the blunder of attaching more importance to turnover than margin. As a result, when they see more money coming in, the business owners can be misled into thinking that the company must be faring well – or even expanding.
However, these assumptions wouldn’t take enough account of operating costs, which will grow in tandem with revenue streams. In growth, your operating costs could outpace your revenue.
Developing staff doesn’t often require formal training
It’s tempting to spend money on classroom-based training programmes in a bid to update your employees’ skills base. However, research has revealed that about 70% of staff learning is on the job, with 20% due to coaching or mentoring and a mere 10% picked up through formal training.
You can avoid such training – and the monetary outlay that it would necessitate – by promoting self-learning and arranging coaching and mentoring. Staff can share best practice with new personnel.
Document procedures comprising your winning formula
Your business could struggle to make significant gains if it hasn’t yet developed a solid and sustainable footing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to compile procedural guidelines to be imparted to new staff capable of acting on these tips and so helping the firm to stay resilient.
The documenting and sharing of these business procedures should be incorporated into your brand culture. This can help to smooth hiccups that could arise from unexpected staff turnover.
Tread carefully if you are eyeing overseas expansion
If you appear to have hit a brick wall in your attempts to keep growing the company, your attention might have understandably drifted to the prospect of entering foreign markets. However, make sure that, should you actually chase those markets, you won’t cripple your firm’s existing foundations.
It can be too easy to take these foundations for granted when the lure of cross-border business is strong. Without enough resources and sufficiently skilled workers who will be based in that foreign country, the overseas venture could too easily fail to work out.
Set your sights more broadly
Despite the caution that we have urged about considering international projects, if you do give them serious thought, you could be especially rewarded provided you select the right markets.
Should you proceed to set up various international outposts, consider how a business VoIP system could help you save money on calls to these satellite premises. Users of Planet Numbers’ business VoIP services have succeeded in slashing their monthly phone costs by up to 90%.