There are more new businesses starting up on both sides of the Atlantic than ever before. The technological age has opened up new markets and reduced barriers to entry, and this truly is the age of the entrepreneur. Those new businesses cover an array of sectors, but they all have one thing in common. Talk to any startup about its aspirations, and you will hear the word growth.
There are plenty of articles out there that give the doom and gloom statistics on how many startups go under in the first or the second year, and the measures that owners have to take to survive. But what about the ones that succeed? There are some core considerations for taking a burgeoning startup to the next level of business maturity and making that growth a reality.
Evaluate the financing options
Very few businesses are entirely self-funded, so you will almost certainly need some external finance in order to grow. Today, there are numerous options to consider, from conventional bank loans to crowdfunding to courting angel investors. Each has its own pros and cons, so take your time and get as many expert opinions as you can lay your hands on.
Think big with the infrastructure
Business efficiency comes down to having the right processes, procedures and tools in place, and these can look very different for a sole trader or a small business with a dozen staff. Even if it seems like overkill, it makes sense to get the infrastructure in place from the start. For example, let’s say you’re a small manufacturer. You should take care of your production planning and scheduling, invoicing, quality management, right from the start — think like the company you plan to be from the outset, and get the tools, processes and most of all, mindset in place from Day One. After all, habits are easy to make but harder to break.
Develop your public profile
One of the great things about the entrepreneurial age is that it gives personalities a chance to shine through. The most successful businesses are as much about the people behind them as the companies themselves, even if you think super-big. Just look at the likes of Elon Musk, the late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, even Michael O’Leary. Don’t hide your personality behind the business, but instead let it become a part of it. Your LinkedIn profile and so on is, of course, important, but also provide information on the website. Business owners sometimes feel it is vain to post information about themselves, but customers genuinely want to know about the founder and how the business began.
Don’t get bogged down
A small business owner needs to work on his business, not in it. It sounds like a small distinction, but it is the difference between driving the business forward and just pressing on from day to day. Think about the key strategic activities that you can do to make your business succeed, and focus on them single-mindedly. One of the most important aspects of growth is having other people to sweat the small stuff.