If scaling up your business is a high priority, here are a few tips to help you get there.
1. Review your business goals.
Most goals were appropriate when written but have become outdated. Are your goals reasonable, or are they obsolete—a delusion that could impact your company’s overall performance? Clearly stated and simplified business goals that are challenging, yet achievable will help put you on the path to unparalleled growth.
2. Assess your critical business activities.
Take a look at your core activities. Which products or services are the most profitable and which, if any, are not? If not, why not? Has your customer base changed? What can you do to realize cost efficiencies that make your business more profitable? Answers to these questions will help you define your competitive advantage, which is critical to business success.
3. Evaluate the state of your business finances.
Review your current financials to determine the investment required to achieve your projected revenues. Then ask yourself some tough questions. Will you have sufficient cash flow to fuel growth before realizing your increased revenues? What happens if there is a delay in achieving your revenues? Do you need a working capital loan, or is it permanent capital that you will need to fuel your growth? Work with your accountant or other financial expert to forecast your financials, including month-to-month cash flow.
4. Conduct a sales performance and marketing review.
Sales and marketing are critical to any business. Analyze your historical sales performance and marketing results against your business growth objectives. Identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats that may impede your growth. Armed with this information, decide which major and minor changes are needed to reach your business objectives.
5. Commit to being more people-focused.
Customers and employees make or break a business. Find new ways to reward and retain loyal customers and find new ones. Conduct well-prepared annual performance reviews to evaluate and give feedback to your employees. Remember that happy, satisfied customers and employees are loyal ones.
Once you have confidence in your goals, strategy, and tactics, write them down and share the information with your employees so they have the big picture and “buy in” to the plan. Measure, monitor, and report progress throughout the year to address barriers that arise, and celebrate with your team when you reach benchmarks. Above all, know that 12 months is a long time for a business. Anything can happen. Strive to achieve your goals, and be prepared for inevitable challenges with a plan to manage these risks. Then get ready for banner growth in the New Year.
Emilia DiMenco is president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center,
an organization that provides services to prospective, emerging, and established women business owners, including workshops, business counseling, a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification and procurement program, and annual events.