Taking your business to the next level
(NC) As a business owner you're probably looking forward to seeing your business grow over time. With an effective growth strategy, you can successfully plan for growth or be prepared when it takes you by surprise.
“Whether you are in the first few years of operation or have been running a business for some time, growing your business can be exciting but also challenging,” says Kim Ulmer, vice-president, Small Business, RBC. “It' important to look at your business situation as objectively as possible. Being aware of the challenges that lie ahead will help you prepare for them and keep you focused on your long-term growth goals.”
When managing for growth, Ulmer offers some additional advice to avoid strain on your staff and finances:
• Plan for it –The growth you expect for your business should be part of your overall business plan. If you see your business dominating the market a year from now, develop a strategy that accounts for the demands of output necessary to maintain that position. Your strategy should include your staff, facilities, and suppliers.
• Don't overpromise – While it may seem like bad business practice to turn down an order, accepting contracts that you don't have the capacity to fulfill can result in substandard service and unhappy customers. If you don't have the capacity to fulfill currently, let your clients know of your growth plans and interest in doing business with them in the future.
• Manage "bursts" with temporary resources –If you expect a temporary surge in your business, look into temporary contractors who can help you manage staff, suppliers, and/or facilities. Review their credentials and establish relationships now, while you have time, and keep their information on file for when the rush comes.
• Arrange credit before you need it – Increased capacity may necessitate increased financial flexibility. It's important to regularly review your current and future growth strategy with your financial advisor to ensure you have the credit you need, before you need it.
• Think about doing credit checks on all new clients – Getting paid on time is always important, and late payments can become more problematic during periods of growth. Consider asking for deposits on large orders. Giving your clients the option to pay by credit or debit card is another way of ensuring you're paid immediately. .
• Focus on what you do best – Don't let expansion distract you from your areas of expertise and specialization. Consider outsourcing new services unless you are sure you have the capacity to incorporate them into your core offerings.
• Take it slow – Give yourself time to put together the resources you need in order to meet your goals. Add resources and build your staff in stages. Review your growth plan regularly and objectively to make sure your goals are reasonable.
For more business advice at all stages, visit: https://www.rbcadvicecentre.com/business_advice.
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