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Start small, think big: planning for growth in you...

Start small, think big: planning for growth in your business

When just starting out in business, your first plan of action is to survive. It can take a while before profits come in, so you will be focussing on getting through the first quarter, rather than thinking about your long-term future. On the one hand, this is fine and perfectly understandable. On the other hand, you do need to be careful. You may experience success before you know it, and if you are still thinking small, you won’t be prepared for the changes that will affect your business.

You need to think big, anticipating growth, and focussing on those things that will help you reach success. Thinking small not only leaves you unprepared, but it might also stop your business from growing in the first place.

So, re-evaluate your business plan if it is in any way prohibitive of the long-term future. If it’s purely based around survival, you need to expand your thinking. For example:

– Up your marketing techniques, ensuring you have a plan to reach the people who will turn your business into a success.

– Look at your budget, and rather than relying on the money you make to manage your daily operations, start to put some of it away into a savings account to help you account for any changes in your business later should an expansion be necessary.

– Re-consider your targets. Rather than having a plan for the next year, increase your plan to cover the next five or even ten years. Where do you want to be? Still in the same place you are now, or somewhere that has reaped the rewards of your efforts?

Consider what it is you need to do to be successful. For example, you should consider the following.

– Return to education, and train in business management to give you all the tools you need to make it in your chosen industry. If going back to school freaks you out, it is possible to take courses online as well.

– Concentrate on your product or service. Producing something with minimal effort isn’t going to get you anywhere, especially when your competition are right around the corner. Concentrate on the Wow factor, ensuring potential customers are amazed at what you have to offer, rather than considering your business with a shrug of the shoulders.

– Look for expansion opportunities, so you aren’t tied down with limited resources. This might include looking for a warehouse to rent to manage your inventory, and exploring new markets beyond your locale, perhaps considering the global market when marketing your product.

– Network with other business professionals, rubbing shoulders with them at industry events and conferences, and asking them for advice on anything you aren’t sure about. They might even point you towards other contacts to help you elevate your business further.

– Think about hiring new staff, if not now, then taking steps ready for the future. This can include signing up to a job agency early, registering your business details with them so they can look for suitable candidates in the interim.

Businesses are closing down every day, and you don’t want to be one of them. You need to create a future for yourself, thinking big, so you are ready to take on whatever challenges are ahead of you. We wish you every success for the future.

*Photo by Iulian Pana on Unsplash
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Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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