First four steps to growing your business
SO YOU'VE set up your business and the customers are rolling in, now you're ready to grow... but how?
Here are some tips on hiring, planning and delegating, so you can focus on your strengths.
1. Business plan V2
Your original business plan worked, but with expansion in mind an updated plan is required, and it may include the hiring of staff, new premises, greater storage, longer opening hours, and a marketing budget.
You may also be risking more this time around, so the first question you need to ask yourself is "why am I doing this?".
If, once you've factored in costs such as increased rent and utilities, and staff wages, benefits and superannuation, the figures still add up, then it might be time to expand.
2. Let it go
For most small business owners, the only way to grow the company is by hiring staff and delegating tasks. Some tasks are easier than others to let go of, but without trust in the ability of your staff you'll end up micromanaging them, and the good ones will soon move on.
Veteran Sunshine Coast life and business coach Babette Bensoussan admits that when she started her business she had "great difficulty" delegating tasks.
"No-one could do it as well as I could!" she said.
"My [own] coach questioned me: 'Why are you doing this? Why can't you give [a task] to somebody?' Slowly I learnt."
Other business owners agree.
"You have to have faith ... that you've trained your staff enough to know their jobs," said cafe owner Nick Gleeson, who co-owns Factory Espresso cafe and comedy venue in Orange, regional NSW.
When the Gleesons are away from the business for short periods, tasks are delegated to staff.
"There are lots of decisions to be made: people coming at you, complaints, staffing issues, all that stuff, so it's quite a lot to throw on a 22-year-old's shoulders," he said.
"But we come up with systems before we leave, and they ring us at the end of every day and let us know how everything's going."
If there was a secret to always hiring the right person for the right job it would've been bottled. But there is no such thing. When you bring somebody on staff, you are taking a risk, and the art is in minimising that risk.
"You try and get a gauge of people's skill set in a trial," says Gleeson, "but you've only really got an hour to make a snap decision, then you go with your instinct on whether they're going to work or not.
"Our main hiring policy is get someone who's got a good, bubbly personality and a healthy attitude, and then the rest you can teach."
Three-month trials for full-time positions allow both parties to suss each other out.
4. Meet a mentor
Make a point of meeting people who have built up a successful business over a number of years. The longer the better, as they will have seen good times and bad. A mentor who has been there, done that is the keeper of a wealth of information, and it's worth trying to find one who's willing to share.
State, territory and federal governments run mentoring programs. One example is Queensland's Mentoring for Growth, which offers eligible businesses access to a team of volunteer business experts who can provide insights and suggestions in areas such as growth, investment and export.