The foundations are in place, you have a good client base, maybe you have a team you work with, maybe you have a premises. Now you are ready to take your business to the next stage, and to start feeling like a real business owner, rather than having a job. It’s time to start reaping the rewards, and getting closer to your goals.
Here are my 5 tips on scaling your business:
Tip 1 – Have the end goal in sight
First of all take some time to revisit and get clear on your goals – where do you want to go? What do you want from your business? Why you want the goal, and what your business needs to give you to achieve your goal – dig deep!
Getting clear on your goals will set the scene for where you are going and what you need to do. And remember, there is no point in scaling if that is not going to give you what you want! And drill down to details too – not just spend more time with family and friends – how much time do you want to spend working versus with family and friends? The more specific the better!
Your goals could include things like:
- How much money do you want to take home? (Financial Freedom)
- How many hours/days a week (and weeks a year) do you want to work? (Time Freedom)
- How many weeks of holiday a year/number of holidays a year do you want?
- Do you want a big special holiday or once in a lifetime trip – ie Disney or somewhere exotic?
- Where do you want to live – do you want to move area or even country?
- What does your dream home look like (and cost)?
- Do you want a holiday home?
- Have you thought about retirement and pension planning?
- Would you love your partner to be able to give up work?
- Would you like your kids (or grandkids) to go to private school?
- What does your dream car look like?
- Would you like to travel?
- And so much more! Dream big 🙂
Tip 2 – Establish a plan
Now you are crystal clear on what you want – what do you need to get there? It’s time to revise your business plan (or create one if you haven’t already!). What do you need to get you to your goals?
Some key areas to think about in your planning are processes, team and pricing.
Processes – what can you automate and systemise? This will help with not only freeing up yours (and your team’s) time, but also help with training of future team members. We are constantly improving and tweaking ours to ensure we always deliver our best work #excellencevalue!
Team – who do you need to help you scale, and what will they be doing? What roles will you be able to pass on to your team? Check out Madi’s 10 Hats blog for some inspiration and tips.
Pricing – CHARGE YOUR WORTH – now read that again! Establish a clear pricing structure. This will not only help you to keep the emotion out of pricing, but will help you stop offering discounts, and most importantly mean your team can take the load here too! I don’t think pricing is something you will ever get ‘right’ – but find what you’re happy with, and then tweak as you go. Read more on pricing, and most importantly on why undervaluing yourself will cause you problems here.
And marketing will be a big part of your plan too. Are you focusing on new customers, repeat customers or a mix? Additional products or services? A marketing plan will help you figure out what you’re going to do and when. And maybe a marketing team is part of who you need to help you in your scaling journey, to take your marketing up a notch!
Tip 3 – What’s it going to cost and what do you need to bring in?
Put together a budget – from the bottom up. Start with what you want out of the business then work up to establish what sales are needed to give you what you want!
So take your money goal and that is your starting point. Then add on tax and overheads to get to your gross profit. You should know your gross profit margin from previous years to get you to your sales target.
Make sure you budget generously for your overheads, especially new costs, as they are always more than you think! And also include an amount for things you probably don’t even know you’re going to need yet – like a rainy day fund. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared 🙂
When you have a sales target you can also then work that back to how many customers or sales you need to make to hit that target.
Now if numbers are not your thing you’re possibly going to freak out at this point – and that’s ok. As we regularly say – you didn’t go into business to be doing things like this! So don’t be afraid to reach out for some help (infact every step of the way – but this is probably one of the scarier parts to be fair!). Truth bomb time – you’re going to have to get comfortable with at least the basics here, so you understand where you’re going and feel confident that you’re going in the right direction. We can help you get confident with these as part of our Money Confidence Programme, and also help with the budget itself, so please do reach out for help if you need it!
Tip 4 – Get your money in your bank quickly!
Scaling takes cash, so you’re going to need to keep tight control on your cash, and ensure you’re paid by your customers as quickly as possible.
Start with doing a cashflow forecast as of right now to work out where you stand with all your current costs and confirmed sales. You can then model out how the additional costs for new team members, potential additional sales etc will affect your cash. When could you run out of money? Are your plans doable? Do you need investment or a short term loan to be able to implement plans?
Then review your current sales process and methods of being paid. Do you have problems with late payments? Do you need a credit control process? Could you implement payment services like GoCardless, Stripe or something like iwocaPay where you can spread payment over 3 months and help customers to buy from you. What can help you get paid quicker and easier?
Tip 5 – Keeping on track
“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
Once you have your plan you need to be able to monitor your progress to make sure you’re staying on track. Management reports are like your scorecard in golf – they keep track of your key performance indicators to make sure you’re on track. And if you’re not, they will help you to work out why and what needs to be done to get back on track.
As business owners we don’t have a boss to keep us accountable! Yes, there are probably many client deadlines etc to work to – but when it comes to your business many of us find it hard to keep on track and not get side tracked by shiny opportunities and putting off the important things as there isn’t a deadline or someone to be accountable to.
Coaching will help you to keep on track, decipher those management reports and keep you accountable! A good coach will also stretch you, and help you to look at things from other angles. They will help you also feel less alone on this crazy journey of being a business owner!
Your goals will probably evolve over time, I know mine have! So it’s also worth reviewing them each year, and the plan etc to make sure you’re still moving in the right direction.
As you start to scale you will gradually stop doing all of the doing – working in your business, and spend more time managing the business. Take some time to think about what that means for you and your role going forward – what will you and won’t you be doing?
What balance between working in and on your business do you actually want? This bit will be different for everyone – and different between industries too. Where will you cause bottlenecks? What do you need to delegate?
This is the bit I initially struggled with – I knew what being an accountant looked like. Who I was as an accountant. But what does being a business owner look like – who am I now? It was a bit of a lightbulb moment in a session with my coach! Yes, since I set up PPF I have been running a business and therefore a business owner, but this stage of taking that step back to focus on running my business looked totally different, and was alien to me! Taking the time out to really look at what I wanted personally, how I wanted my role to be, set me up for going forward and working out what we needed to do as a business to continue the journey.
So to sum up – scaling is hard work. It will test you in many different ways – ways you don’t expect! But having a clear vision, a plan and some accountability will help you to get there, and it will be worth it as you start reaching those goals – when those dreams start to become your reality.
If you’re looking to scale your business and need some help, pop over to our Get Started page to complete the questionnaire and book a discovery call with us. We look forward to helping you to scale your business.