Six ways to manage your business’ growth
As mumpreneurs, our toughest challenges can sometimes come from our greatest successes.
Business milestones – like sales skyrocketing, landing a large contract and achieving exponential growth – can suddenly see us faced with some very real and very confronting issues that we may not have planned for in our start-up.
Sometimes all it takes is one big client, one good referral, one great media article or one photo, status or campaign to go viral and you can be faced with a flood of enquiries and an influx of sales.
So how do you deal with business growth easily and effectively?
Here are six tips to help you plan for and cope with business growth successfully:
1. Know your work/life balance non-negotiables
As a mumpreneur, growing your business can bring about a unique set of work/life balance challenges. Trying to spend as much time with your family as possible, run a household and manage a growing business is no small feat and sacrifices often need to be made.
Instead of making these in the moment when you’re likely to be in ‘do whatever it takes’ mode, discuss and brainstorm a plan for growth on the home front with your partner and how you will join together to make it work. Talk about where you are both comfortable for sacrifices to be made, childcare options and sharing or outsourcing more household chores for when you become busier in work.
When making this plan it’s important to remember why you are in business, what your priorities are and what your non-negotiables are (i.e. amount of time spent with your kids, what times you work or don’t work), as this will protect the boundaries between work and family and help you determine how much you personally do in your business and how much you pass on to others.
2. Learn to say no to some opportunities
When your business is small it can be tempting to jump at every opportunity that comes your way in order to generate more sales. But by saying yes to everything, you can soon find you don’t have enough time for anything.
The key is to identify opportunities that will help you reach your business goals, connect you with people you want to reach, strengthen your business standing or generate more clients and sales. If an opportunity doesn’t fall into these categories then don’t pursue it.
Creating systems as you go about your daily tasks is an easy way to streamline your business, increase your productivity and manage growth phases effectively.
By developing templates of emails, forms, proposals, quotes and documents, and designing comprehensive flow charts, checklists and “how to” sheets you can outsource tasks easily and with minimal direction so you can effectively focus your time and efforts.
4. Delegate and outsource
As one person you can only do a limited amount, especially when you are juggling multiple roles on both the home and business front. To grow easily and efficiently and save yourself time and stress, look for tasks you can outsource.
Build a strong, trusted team of people to whom you can delegate tasks, whether they are employees, contractors, alliances or businesses you have engaged. Also look to build a team of experts that will help you take your business to the next level.
When you are growing it’s important to not let the fear of a task not being done to your standard or timeframe rule you. While you can do anything; you can’t do everything. Instead focus on finding quality people and on what you will gain by having a team to outsource work to – more time, faster growth and less stress.
5. Manage cashflow carefully
When your sales increase and more money is coming in it can be easy to become complacent with your cashflow management. Though when you are going through a growth phase, managing your finances closely is even more critical.
Business growth often involves outlaying more money in supplies, staffing/outsourcing, technology, resources, expert advice and business development, and often you need to do it before invoices are paid and money is received.
By failing to manage your cashflow properly you can end up with less than you need and limit your ability to grow effectively or altogether. Develop a growth plan and budget, manage your expenses to ensure your profit margins stay the same and explore funding options, if needed, to cover any shortfalls.
6. Grow with your business
Business growth requires more from you as a business owner too. You need more knowledge, more skills and more resources available to make more informed decisions and manage your growth effectively.
When it comes to your personal and professional growth, adopt an attitude of continual and never-ending improvement. Read books, attend seminars and workshops, sign up to newsletters and webinars. Learn from those who have gone before you and what worked and didn’t work for them.
A little foresight and a lot of planning can go a long way in managing your business growth effectively. Though if you do start to feel overwhelmed and out of control while you are growing, never be afraid to slow your growth to put the proper systems and procedures in place and get the additional help you need.