How to keep your head above the water when your small business begins to grow
Tuesday, 4th February 2020 11:38

Starting a business is tough – there’s plenty to do in order to get your start-up off the ground and it’s more than likely that you’re juggling hats in order to keep your costs down and get the maximum out of the business.

As well as focusing on making the business a success, you can also find yourself acting as credit control, IT support and HR manager in the space of one working day. And then when the business does begin to take off, it can become very overwhelming. This is when solid organisation skills need to be applied in order to make sure that operations run smoothly, and all balls are kept in the air. Here are a few tips to help you stay in control.

  1. Responsibilities – When a business begins to get busier, it’s time to delegate. There’s no way you can do it all. Make sure that you have good people working for your business with the right skill sets, knowledge and an understanding of what the business is looking to achieve. Make sure your team has clearly defined responsibilities so that the important duties are managed and dealt with.
  2. Routine – You don’t need to sweat the small stuff if you make sure that you establish good routines early on. From backups of your IT systems to stay on top of credit control, a good organisation will allow you to stay in control. It means if things do go wrong, resolving them is easier if the groundwork has been done.  
  3. Compliance – all businesses need to take compliance seriously and it’s not something that can be half-baked. Make sure that all records are completed fully – from PAT testing, to Right to Work checks and rechecks, cyber software updates, annual leave records and, of course, the big one for any modern business - data compliance; delete any customers that no longer want to be on your records (or encrypt this data if you can’t – for legal reasons – remove it.) Make sure you have full documentation of customer communications and make sure that contact details are correct. It’s worth investing in a good CRM system – there's plenty of off-the-shelf packages, or you can get bespoke system built that will grow with your business.
  4. Finance – It’s fair to say that all businesses set out to make money and a sale isn’t a sale until the money is in the bank. Make sure that due diligence is being applied with your finances; if you are extending credit – think about on what terms. Do your homework on your customers – do they have a good financial health rating and good payment behaviour? Make sure you have clear terms and conditions set out and make sure these are available to customers. Keep on top of invoices and move quickly to recover any that are past due (an invoice becomes less likely to be recovered the later it is.) Poor cashflow is the number one killer for small businesses. Keep yours moving.
  5. Communication – regular meetings with your key staff keep everyone in the loop and will give you an overview of the crucial areas – productivity, finance, compliance. It’s a way to keep your team focussed, review sector trends, offer support where some teams may need it more and spot any potential issues before they become more troublesome. Talking is key.

Business is exciting, especially when it begins to take off and you begin to see the merits of your hard work. Staying in control will help sustain the upward curve of success.