You’ve paid your dues and made it through that dreaded first year in business, and now you’re ready to take your business into a more profitable space. And while what you’re doing works for where you are, you’ll need to make some changes to continue moving in an upward motion. Here are a few quick tips on how to make that happen, as well as a few ways to cut down on stress so you can enjoy watching your business grow.
Dream it and write it down
You can’t get to the next level if you don’t know what that level is. American Express recommends envisioning where you want to be professionally. Outline for yourself a clear picture of how you see your business operating in one year, five years, and in the long term. Once you write down your intentions, they become goals that you can further break down into steps you can take to achieve them.
Your staff is one of the most important assets in your business. These are the people who make an impression on your behalf. And no matter what business you’re in, the quality of the people on the phone and on the floor can make or break your expansion efforts. If you already have good people in key positions, set up a training program so that you will always have an alternate in case of an emergency.
Manage scheduling conflicts
If scheduling conflicts have been a problem in the past, take some time to work out ways you can avoid being understaffed, which will make a bad impression on your customers in the form of poor service. And when issues do arise, make sure you have a plan in place, even if it means offering other employees extra perks or rolling up your own sleeves, if necessary.
Cut the fat
No matter what you see for your business’s future, it’s going to take money. If you’re currently spending on unnecessary expenses, it’s time to cut those out. This can include anything from printing costs to overpaying for supplies that you can get more cheaply by buying in bulk.
If your business process takes more time than it’s worth, you’ll not only need to trim financial fat, but you’ll need to take steps to streamline your business. Investing in the proper technology can optimize your inventory management and ordering processes. Something as seemingly insignificant as swapping out your credit card machine can save you time and money with features like portability and receipt printing. Similarly, dropshipping may or may not be a better option that holding inventory for small businesses with variable sales cycles. Consider any swap or upgrade you make to make your systems more efficient an investment in your sustainability, growth, and profitability.
Stress will hold you back
It doesn’t matter how excited you are for the next chapter of your professional story — if you’re stressed and full of anxiety, you likely won’t succeed. Before you try to tackle the trials and tribulations of growth, you’ll need to become aware of your stressors. Once you know what triggers a negative reaction, it’s time to find coping methods that lower your heart rate and help you release tension. This may include hiding in your office for a five-minute yoga session or outsourcing your most stressful tasks, such as accounting or building maintenance. You’ll also need to take time to care for your body by exercising and eating well.
Owning a business is hard work. Owning a growing business is even harder. Once you get things under control, you can learn to be a “calm responder” when new issues that might circumvent future growth.