Strategic Keys to successfully grow your business (part 2)

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A business plan:

This dynamic document outlines your vision for the future of your business, looking at where you are now, where you want to be by a given date and how you intend to get there.

A good business plan will:
• Force you to make an objective appraisal of where your business is going.
• Give you a sense of direction and a clear action plan.
• Prove to financial backers that you have a clear understanding of your business and its position in the market.
• Set targets and allow you to measure your success.
• Demonstrate your commitment to future development.

Business premises/location:

As your business becomes more successful, it’s likely that you’ll need more staff, facilities and equipment to cope with demand. You can increase the size of business premises in one of three ways:
1. Extend your existing premises.
2. Keep the existing premises and obtain an additional site.
3. Relocate your business to a completely new building.

In each case, you will need to consider the impact on staff, customers and suppliers.
You should also be careful not to overstretch your finances. Your premises need to allow for future growth, but you don’t want to pay for space you won’t use.
Property may be purchased freehold and leasehold. If there is an option you will have to decide which is best for you.
Leasing may offer flexibility and the ability to update more frequently, but this could increase the overall cost.

Ensure that the premises have the necessary planning consents, and consider the following:
• How accessible does your property need to be for customers and/or suppliers?
• Do you need to be near good transport links, including airports if you trade internationally?
• How convenient will it be for you, your existing staff and any new staff you wish to take on?
• If multiple sites are unavoidable, do they need to be near each other?
• How much competition will you face in your chosen location?
• Would your business benefit from a position near other respected brands?

Workforce:

Your relationship with your workforce is vital without them the business is impoverished. While your business is small, you can retain complete control and a hands-on style of management. As numbers grow, your relationship with your staff will change.

There are three key areas you should focus on:

1. Your role: as the business expands, you will have to relinquish some of your existing responsibilities and decide how you want to be perceived in the new structure.
2. Recruitment: taking on new employees has to be managed carefully. Your existing workforce may see newcomers as a threat.
3. Internal communications: during periods of change in particular, your staff will want to feel supported and listened to.

Capacity/ outsourcing:

You can increase your output by improving overall efficiency and productivity, but real growth usually requires investment in the physical assets you need to produce your goods or services.

To ensure you don’t underestimate or overestimate your requirements:
• Review your projected needs in the short, medium and long-term.
• Plan your investment to keep pace with increasing volume.
If demand for your product or services is seasonal or irregular, track the peaks and troughs over a period of time to identify any patterns. This will allow you to take advantage of opportunities when you are under capacity, or to take on extra resource for busy periods.
If you plan to expand into new premises, make sure you choose a location that allows you to optimise as many aspects of your business as possible.

Delegate

It can be hard to prise yourself away from your business, especially in the early days, and trusting others with tasks can be difficult. But to grow your business, you have to delegate effectively and avoid the mentality that you have to do everything yourself to ensure it’s done properly. If you’re rushed off your feet but can’t afford a full time employee, look for a reliable freelancer, virtual assistant or student that can work on an ad hoc basis when you need them.

In the early stages of expansion, you may require additional expertise in your business. Rather than take on full-time staff to cater for this requirement, it may make practical and financial sense to outsource.
Outsourcing eases pressures internally and allows you and your staff to focus on the primary objectives. Aspects of business which often lend themselves well to third-party management include:
• Accounts, legal and finance.
• Marketing (including Internet services).
• Advertising.
• Technical support.
• Recruitment.

Outsourcing inevitably involves losing a degree of control, so establish procedures that allow you to monitor performance as closely as possible.

What Next For Your Business?
Business growth and expansion requires focus,resilience and deligence.do you know other strategic keys required for growth? please feel free to share with us in the comment bar.
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