As an independent business owner, the very beginning of the road represents a daunting – though, admittedly, exciting – place to be. It is, of course, a tricky route to navigate, and plenty of people will grind to a halt long before they intended to. That said, however, plenty of people will go far beyond that initial horizon and break ground they never imagined themselves breaking.
When you begin to reach that point, and feel as though you have begun to outgrow the original scope of your business, the only option is to invest more of your time and energy into scaling it up to meet with the increasing demands of a rapidly expanding customer base. This is, of course, easier said than done. Even for hardened businesspersons, this period of transition can be tricky to manage – for the relatively new entrepreneur, however, it can seem like a veritable mountain to climb.
There’s no use skirting the issue: any trepidation you may be feeling is not entirely unfounded, and this point of growth will have its trying moments. There are, however, plenty of tools and techniques you can utilize in order to make the process as manageable, fruitful, and rewarding as it ought to be.
Read more below.
1. Utilize Scalable Customer Relationship Management Software
The case remains the same whether your business is at Day 1 or Day 1,000: your customers represent the very lifeblood of your venture, and ensuring that you are doing the very most to attract and retain prospects is integral to your day-to-day operations.
While, in the very beginning, communicating with and attracting new customers via your social media may have been sufficient, a scalable CRM software will prove to be an invaluable tool as you cultivate a more professional and industrious digital presence. Rather than manually collating leads and customers, for instance, you can automate this process and create a manageable workflow that ensures the best results for your business.
From following up on leads and customers to creating invoices, every aspect of maintaining the digital ‘front’ of your business can be streamlined with Customer Relationship Management.
2. Develop a Lasting Relationship with Your Accountant
Unless you’re a devout ‘numbers person’, keeping up with the mounting pressures of bookkeeping and scaling your administrative duties is, to put it mildly, incredibly challenging. And, even if you do dream in digits, the daily To Do list of a business owner is enough to consistently push your business accounting to the bottom of the pile – a fact which can have significant, long-term disadvantages for you and your business.
Accountancy software is incredibly useful, particularly in the early stages, but the mounting complexities inherent to growing businesses often mean that, at times, a ‘human touch’ is highly beneficial.
Keeping your accountant close to hand will take a larger investment, but it will also afford you much more peace of mind and confidence for the future.
3. Don’t Pursue Growth for Growth’s Sake
As your business begins to garner more attention, and you see your monthly sales count rise far beyond its original highpoint, it can be tempting to embrace this change with open arms and commit yourself to a long list of new products or services.
If you are a wedding photographer, for instance, it might be that you sign away more time than you ever have before, and find that every waking hour is suddenly committed to events, editing, creating invoices, and managing new requests and referrals. If you are an artist, you may commit to a much broader portfolio of products, or take on so many commissions that you never get a moment’s break from your craft.
In any instance, it is unsustainable to think that you can commit so many hours to keeping on top of demand. Even if it is something you love doing, a proper work-life balance remains essential.
So, while it is important that the goods or services you offer do get updated over time, this is a process that should be done incrementally – particularly in the early stages before you being to grow a full-time team to help you out.
Growing your business is the dream. In all likelihood, this point has been on the horizon since you first set out on the entrepreneurial road – but it is of course normal to feel overwhelmed once the opportunity does arrive. Ensuring that you understand how to manage (and stay on top of) your own development is essential, and taking the time to implement new processes and procedures at every stage cannot be skipped or postponed.
Yes, keeping on top of your customer’s demands should remain at the top of your list of priorities, but the only way to ensure that you will be able to continue doing that indefinitely is to ensure that your business rests on a reliable framework that can grow with you.