Every small business wants to grow, but not all of them actually take the steps to make it happen. A variety of factors are to blame, and each business has its own unique obstacles. But let’s say a business knows exactly what it needs to grow. Maybe it needs a bigger team, new equipment, or the materials to develop new products. The business knows how much the investment will cost and how long it will take for the investment to contribute to its revenue stream. Funding might not even be an issue, either, and it shouldn’t be, thanks to companies like United Capital Source. And yet the business is still hesitant to move forward.
Odds are, this hesitancy stems from the numerous additional tasks and responsibilities associated with growth. You have to prepare both yourself and your business, and this begins by becoming 100% certain that this is indeed the right time to make some serious changes. Achieving certainty involves asking yourself some potentially uncomfortable questions, but this is the only way you’ll ever feel comfortable enough to grow your business.
1. Are You Ready To Make The Required Changes?
Growth requires an investment of both money and time. You, the business owner, must be personally ready to do more. And this doesn’t just pertain to the tasks related to the actual growth process, like looking for new employees or creating a marketing campaign. The growth process naturally cuts into other elements of your business, and it’s the business owner’s job to keep those elements stable. You might have to spend more time talking to vendors to ensure all of your orders arrive at the right time because you need steady cash flow now more than ever. If you are concerned about costs, you will most likely have to make a conscious effort to reduce expenses and increase productivity.
In many cases, the difference between businesses that grow successfully and those that do the opposite is that the former group understands that growth is not just an opportunity to make more money. In order for growth initiatives to work, the business must do whatever it can to eliminate everything that is holding it back. There can be no weak links. You cannot be spending more money than you should anything, and productivity levels cannot be hampered by disorganization, miscommunication, or something taking too much time to get done. This is arguably the most stressful part about growing a business, which is much, much easier if your business is operating as tight as a jazz band.
2. How Is The Competition Doing?
Your competitors are usually a source of stress, so much so that you might spend most of the year pretending they don’t exist. But if growth is in your sights, you must view your competitors as purely a source of valuable knowledge. Remember, the whole point of this preparation process is to become certain that you are making the right moves to grow your business. You cannot be certain without examining what your competitors are doing well and where they are lacking. What have your competitors done that is different from your industry’s norm? If you aren’t learning something from your observations, you aren’t looking hard enough.
Customers of independent coffee shops, for example, might assume that the owners of their favorite hangout want nothing to do with Starbucks. But if those business owners are smart, they have accepted they have much to learn from the giants of their industry. Before moving forward with growth, they made sure to heed the successes and failures of Starbucks, especially when it comes to the timing of certain initiatives.
3. Does The Research Support Your Idea?
Examining your competition is one small piece of a much larger step: The research phase. Your plan for the future is meaningless without evidence, and evidence comes from research. How do you know this particular investment will help you reach your goals? How do you know that not being able to afford it until now has been holding you back? Have your competitors made a similar investment at a similar stage of their careers? What is the connection between your investment and customer activity? Once you have answered these questions, you will have a much better idea as to whether your investment makes sense.
Before You Start To Doubt Yourself…
If the preparation phase seems stressful, it’s because it is. But if you finance your initiative with small business loans from United Capital Source, rest assured you will have all the time you need to prepare your business for growth. Our application and funding processes are quick and easy, because you should be spending your days doing research and cutting costs, not filling out paperwork. We also sometimes allow clients to make lower payments or alter their payment frequency during certain months so they can work on tightening up other elements of their businesses.
A big reason we offer so many products, such as business lines of credit, merchant cash advances, and accounts receivable factoring, is the fact that every small business has to take its own measures to improve cash flow. Since stable cash flow is critical for paying off debt, we structure the terms of our small business loans so that your payments do not disrupt your other cash flow-related efforts. Your largest payments are instead reserved for when your revenue is in peak form and you have returned to your typical day-to-day routine. Financing a growing business has always been stressful, but only fairly recently did it become possible to pay off the majority of your debt when the most stressful part is over.
*Photo credit to EduBirdie