Seeing your business consistently growing is something every entrepreneur strives for. But not being prepared for the implications can do more harm than good.
Getting too big too fast can lead to overworked employees, disgruntled customers and financial strain – not to mention a frazzled owner. Stay in control by taking it step by step and planning ahead.
- Only take orders/contracts you're sure you can fulfill: Your business’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. It's always hard to say no to an order, but it’s better to do that than not deliver on your promise. Follow up with this client once you are able to do work for them.
- Do credit checks on new clients: Growing your client base is a must, but so is getting paid on time. If you have a new client, check their track record. It's usually better (and is standard in most businesses) to ask for a deposit or up-front part payment.
- Arrange credit before you need it: Pre-planning can give you maximum financial flexibility when you need it, so it’s good to arrange for access before you need it. Investigate the best options for short-term and long-term financing
- Control costs: Keep track of your costs. Should cash flow tighten, you’ll be able to assess your expenditures quickly and make adjustments where possible
- Stick to what you're good at: While it may be tempting to keep things in-house, don't get distracted from your core business. Consider outsourcing tasks that fall outside your area of expertise
- Add resources as you need them: To avoid tying up your cash and being over-staffed, take on additional employees and equipment only as needed
- Be realistic: It's important to set achievable targets within the set deadline. If necessary, slow down and stay on top of things. Ever heard the saying about "biting off more than you can chew"?
Business growth is usually on every small business's wish-list. Managing it effectively will keep you on course for exactly that.
Source: Susan Ward, About.com
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