You have your company in order. Business is going well, you have enough customers and you really want more. You want to grow. How do you tackle such an intensive process and how do you avoid making mistakes?
The life of a business consists of four phases: start-up, growth, stability and aging . During the growth phase, a lot changes within your company. To properly support that growth , you need structure , money and a good plan. Not every entrepreneur wants that. Growing your company (quickly) has a lot to do with ambition. In this article we explain which bottlenecks you encounter as an entrepreneur in the growth of your company and we give tips to prevent growing pains.
Oops, I’m growing!
Suddenly you notice that you have too much work and that you have to hire (extra) staff to be able to cope with everything. You grow and get (more) people under your care who need to be managed. That means that your role as an entrepreneur is changing. You are no longer that pioneer who does not have to answer to anyone but suddenly has to be a manager. That requires a structured way of working, something that you as an entrepreneur are not always good at. Moreover, it is difficult to let go of ‘your child’. Yet that is necessary if you want to grow further. After all, you cannot always keep everything under control and you have to learn to trust employees.
Make a plan
To avoid problems you have to grow well prepared. That starts with determining your goal. What do you want to grow in ? Do you want more turnover, do you want more customers , do you want to offer more products or services, do you want more staff? And which strategy fits in with this? Is your company structured? Can you get well-trained personnel? Do you have the facilities and technical necessities to keep your business running smoothly, even as it gets bigger? These are questions that you should consider extensively. For that you need time, to take a step back from your company and think about business operations and the future. Often entrepreneurs do not have that time, because they are busy with their company and operational matters. So try to make time conscious to make plans.
Growing costs money. New personnel, new computers, extra products to be produced, more investment in machines. You can get money in different ways. The usual way through the bank does not always work, because banks are still not as generous as they were before the economic crisis. Prepare yourself well when you go to the couch. Make a financing plan and get your business plan in order. Inquire about the possibilities of the Growth Facility , a government scheme in which the government guarantees a certain percentage. Are you unable to get money through the bank? Try it with informal investors , Business Angels or through private equity .
Talk to fellow growers
Because you are so busy doing business, it is sometimes nice to talk to fellow growers. This way you quickly get tips and advice, you can learn from each other and consult with each other. A platform where you can go for this kind of thing is Port4Growth. Since 2004, entrepreneurs who are growing or have the ambition to grow can come here for training, advice and meetings.
A good tip from Port4Growth is: Make a clear picture of where you want to be in five years . Which market do you want to serve, how many customers do you want and what is your role in this process. Translate this back to four, three, two and one years. Entrepreneurs who do this are almost always successful.