Do You Really Want More Clients and Customers?
If you’re running a small business, or are a solo entrepreneur, you probably spend much of your time thinking about how great life would be if you could only get a few more clients, get a few more customers, or land that one big account.
But, before you go big time, you should take a moment to make sure you’re ready to scale your small business up.
From Barley in Business to Busty to Death
It happens all the time.
A small business is doing ok, but the cash flow isn’t exactly overwhelming. When you run an online or service based business, especially if you’re running the show alone or with a small group, this can be a frustrating time.
Then, all the work, all the banging your head against the wall, and all of the planning takes a turn. You hit the tipping point. Whatever you want to call it, your business goes from scraping by to breaking through.
Now, it doesn’t have to be breaking through to super-stardom. Even if your business grows 20% suddenly, that can translate to a lot of extra income.
And a lot of extra work.
Are You Ready to Grow Your Business?
Take a minute to assess your current work load, productivity, and efficiency.
If you have a few customers or clients and you’re behind on orders or fulfilling service agreements, you’re probably not ready to grow. Getting more contracts might help your bank account, but it will not magically cure your productivity issues.
However, if you are consistently knocking your work load out of the park, you might be ready. If you work with a team, make sure everyone is on board. Having a key employee bail during a growth surge can leave you and your customers frustrated.
When you’re ready to grow, start thinking big. If your firm normally handles 10 clients per month, or 20-customers per week, start to think about how it will be to take care of 100 clients a month or 200 customers. Then, think a little bigger.
This isn’t an exercise in daydreaming. It’s actually part of the planning process. If you’ve planned how you’ll handle the extra customers, you’ll be ready when it happens. Sure, no plan is fool-proof, but you’ll be in a much better position if you know where you’re going vs winging it, failing, then losing your new customers.
If you’ve bootstrapped so far, it may be time to consider financing or investors.
If you’re a solo-business, this can be intimidating. But, if you want to jump to the next level (and the levels beyond), finding funding may be necessary.
Before you panic and lose your nerve on this one, understand that funding can mean as little as a few thousand dollars to invest in equipment, marketing, or anything that will help you service more customers.
Concentrate on What You Do Best
The E-Myth by Michael Gerber talks a lot about how most entrepreneurs have one area of expertise, i.e., the baker who opens a bakery. But, most small business owners don’t just do the baking.
They do the baking, the ordering, the marketing, the cash register, the clean-up, and the book.
When you’re ready to scale, you’re ready to hand off some of these jobs. Stick to baking and you’ll have the best baked goods in town. Leave the marketing to a marketer, the books to your accountant (or bookkeeper), and the minutia to your employees.