10 Considerations When Growing Your Small Business

Getting started can be complicated, but these tips can help you stay on track without getting stuck. Need a little extra help? Schedule yourself a consultation to get one on one advice from our team! Set my appointment now!

Have a plan.

Take time to consider what your plans are for the next five years. Do you want to make this business your full time gig or is this a side hustle? Either way, find out what you want out of your business. Some common things include; side money, networking, building capital for other ventures, or freedom. This may be the freedom to work from home, the freedom to do what you love, or the freedom to move forward towards other goals.

Create goals on different plains.

Wanting to make 20k in profits your first year is a great goal. But your daddy's business model probably doesn't work in the current market and that means his view of success might look a little different too. Make sure to measure your success on different plains. Look at other tangible avenues like number of clients, amount you charge per client, or even your retention rates (how often your customers come back). You may not have made that 20k in profits at the end of the year, but you have survived year one of owning a business, you've nailed down your client base, and maybe you have a solid working base of returning clients monthly that are in contracts.. These are also viable measures of success, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Compare your business correctly.

Comparing your business to one that has been going strong for ten years versus your five months, or that has been opened and run by a multi-millionaire, when you are a college student, is setting yourself up for disappointment. Every business has a market and a client base. Make sure you allow yourself time to get to know yours. Compare yourself to a competitor that aligns with your stats -- size (ranked by profit or number of staff), customer service, product, process, etc. Make changes when you need, but remember: you are comparing to improve your business, not to change the reasons why you opened up in the first place. Don't let yourself get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses.

Let emotions count for something.

Unfortunately there is no way to keep emotions out of business. Emotions are what makes you passionate about your business and it keeps you holding on in hard times. That gut feeling about a deal might be enough to make you look twice at a badly written contract. My point is that we WANT emotions in business, but we need to harness them correctly. Learn to regulate your anger and handle employees professionally, don't lash out and make impulsive decisions because you have had a bad day, but do listen to what you are feeling. Look for patterns, compare data, numbers, and similarities in situations. Take those initial feelings and see if there are reasons for them. Are you seeing the whole picture? Congratulations, you're a human with emotion and you just used that to make a business decision.

New to business? Listen to the advice of others

You've heard “New business venture? Share with everyone and your #fam will support you!”

This advice is one of the most harmful we’ve heard. Here's what we recommend, remember that sometimes you will get advice without asking for it, and with that, make sure you take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. That's right, everyone. Telling them that your new venture of selling soap and body butter on Esty might not have quite the same ring to them as it has to you; but that is OK! It's YOUR business. Regardless of the advice you get, ask yourself if this person has run a business before, or used platforms you plan to use… Are they knowledgeable in the field or just reacting? If you don't feel you have a strong support network, find social media groups, podcasts and blogs of those who have done it and don't get bummed if the ones closest to you tell you to keep your day job.

Create an environment you would want to work in.

Needing additional staff is great, it means you are growing! Staff deserve a healthy work environment and you can provide that! Need a sales guy? Consider giving them a healthy base and not just commission only ($600/week + 15% for example). Typically people who have done sales expect some amount in base pay. Need someone for admin work? Make a job description and keep to it for the most part. There's nothing more frustrating working for a start up than wearing 50 hats, and although you do that well, that's not what you hire additional staff to do. If you feel you really need to change what they do for the company, consider doing so at a 90 day / 6 month or an annual review. Do not make the mistake of thinking your staff are going to put the blood, sweat and tears into your company that you do. Your role in staffing your company should be to act as a leader, not to have your staff do enough to be another owner.

Build humanity into your business, even if it's product based.

Take a stand. Everyone is unique and we all love and fight for different things. Most small business clients want to support people they buy from (hence why they shop small) . Pay it forward by letting them know what you support. Is it LGBT rights? Fighting childhood hunger? Volunteering at a local women's shelter? Providing the animal shelter supplies for sick dogs? It doesn't matter WHAT it is, it matters that you make it known that you support that, and that your product, profits or goals align with helping others.

Don't lose yourself in the process.

Don't lose sight of your goals, make sure to look at them and track progress. Sometimes it's easier to see how much further you have to go than how far you have come. Don't let that mindset hinder you. If you need a physical reminder, go look at your client sheet three months ago, what were your goals then? Remember that you opened a business for you, not for anyone else. If you can't offer something to a client, remind them what you do and recommend another company that can offer what they are looking for. There's nothing people like more than saving time and money, and if you help with that, they will come to you when they need YOUR product or service.

Know when to outsource.

Starting a business can be overwhelming. Once you have some solid monthly income, consider the aspect of your business that is struggling the most: Is it taking phone calls, making sales or maybe you need another hand in making a product. Whatever it is, consider outsourcing and hiring a 1099 Freelance employee to help out. Bring them on as you need them, maybe starting at just a few hours a week. If this employee is bringing value to your business and you start to make enough to consider hiring again, hire for the part of your day you hate the most. Your business is showing profits and starting to run smoothly, you deserve to take a small load off. Outsource answering the phone, we know you want to.

Start your social media now.

Social media takes some significant time to grow, so start now. Use the platforms that benefit you and leave the rest. If you are a food blogger, use Pinterest and Instagram and leave twitter out of it. If you are a photographer or videographer, use Instagram and YouTube. Understand the platforms your market wants to contact you on. Having one of every social media platform is great, but if it overwhelms you as you are just starting out, don't bother (for now.)

We recommend using at least two platforms outside of your website (or main platform) , and make sure all platforms connect to each other and your website or storefront. Although you will use two or three platforms at first, go crazy and sign into all of them to ensure you can use the platform in the future by saving your business name so no one else can create that handle. Put all these logins in a secure document so you have access later.

#mysmallbusiness #shopsmall


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