5 challenges of growing your business – and how to overcome them
While fast-growth for your start-up is most entrepreneurs dream, the path from small to medium business is not always smooth. Read advice on coping here
Taking your business from the start-up phase to becoming a medium sized enterprise is a pivotal step for many entrepreneurs, and one that newcomers to the business world dream of one day taking.
If you are at this stage, congratulations – you have succeeded where countless others have failed and you are potentially on your way to becoming a successful and sustainable company.
That said, there are countless challenges involved in taking this important step. Becoming an established business is a process that should not be taken lightly or rushed too quickly – you need to ensure that not only are you ready for this next phase, but that you have the skills and knowledge in order to lead your company to success.
Here are a few of the challenges that you may face as you take this new path and some suggestions that you can use to beat them.
Challenge 1: Not vetting your clients or suppliers
It is common to become so excited about your upcoming expansion that you can neglect to ensure that your clients or suppliers are also ready to take this step with you. Before you start offering credit and stock to your clients, you need to make sure that they have a past record of paying their bills on time.
As a newly expanded business, a few unpaid or late invoices can break you – you need to be wary of clients with poor credit scores. Encourage your clients to check their credit scores, and apply for your own credit score here.
Challenge 2: Taking it too fast
You are motivated, excited and driven, but even if you are a savvy entrepreneur with proven results you may not be ready for an expansion. Consult with a lawyer, a fellow business owner and your partners to ensure that you aren’t stretching yourself too thin before you are ready.
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Some key things to consider include: are you financially capable at this time? Will you really benefit from this expansion? What type is best for you? Unless you have concrete, well researched answers to these questions you are probably not ready for this step.
Challenge 3: Not prioritising your proven clients…
Your existing clients are your bread and butter; they pay your bills and keep you afloat. You may happen upon a large sale or order now and then from an unknown client, but you can always rely on your regulars to keep making orders and needing your services.
Keep your regulars satisfied and make sure that you do not forget about their needs during this busy time.
Challenge 4: …Or not prioritising finding new business!
But can you really rely on those regulars at all times? The business world is littered with horror stories of small to medium enterprises that put all of their eggs in one basket and didn’t attempt to diversify and find new clients along the way.
While your regulars are important to your success, now that you are growing you need to also prioritise finding new business. Network, advertise and seek new clients online.
Challenge 5: Not having suppliers that can grow with you
You may have been working with the same niche suppliers since your humble beginnings, but before you take this next step you need to know that your suppliers are ready to take this step with you.
Moving forward and attempting to stick solely with your original suppliers is a valiant effort, but ensure that it is possible and rational.
Growing your business will inevitably present at least some or all of the challenges above – but with careful planning and consideration there’s no reason why you shouldn’t successfully transition from a small early-stage start-up to a fast-growth and more established business.