So you’ve got your business up and running, and hopefully you’re on your way to profitability. But what’s next?
Well, it’s time to start thinking about ways you can grow your business, so you can ensure it’s a robust venture that will thrive for years.
Of course, expanding a business is easier said than done, so in this guide we’ll look at how you can target growth by freeing up your time.
Let’s get started.
Build up a picture of your working day
How many times have you heard people say “I’d love to expand my business, but I’m far too busy to take on more work”? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself.
Of course, while having plenty to do is a sign your business is doing well, it could also be a sign that you’re not doing things as efficiently as possible.
So the first thing to do is spend a week monitoring your working day. There are productivity apps you can use to do this, but an Excel spreadsheet or even pen and paper will do the job just as well.
The most important thing is that you keep track of each task you perform, and how long it took you to do.
Once you’ve got this information, you can look at ways to save time.
Automate everything you can
One of the easiest ways to save time is by automating as many time consuming tasks as possible.
So if you’re spending a huge amount of time each week on updating your social media channels, automate it.
If you’re manually sending new customers a welcome email, automate it.
You can even automate blogging (although you’ll still need to write the posts).
Automation is a great way to get repetitive tasks out the way in one go, so they don’t eat into your time during the working week. You can learn more about automation in this guide.
If you can’t automate a task, you can always consider outsourcing it. Outsourcing is great for tasks that you have to do, but either don’t enjoy, or aren’t particularly good at.
The downside to outsourcing is of course, that you’ll be paying someone for a task that you were doing yourself.
But if by outsourcing something, you free up time to bring on a new client, or are able to focus on expanding your range of products, then that money is well spent.
The other potential benefit of outsourcing is that the person you outsource to may be better at the task in question.
For example, if you’re driving leads to your business via AdWords, but decide to outsource it to an agency, you may find that they’re able to get better value from your budget than you’d been able to.
Outsourcing is a great way to free up your time so you can focus on your core tasks, and if your business is making a profit, it shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive. You can learn more about outsourcing in this guide.
Target growth areas
Once you’ve freed up some time, you can start to focus on growing your business. It’s always hard to give specific advice on this topic, as things vary greatly between businesses.
If you’re running a client-based business, then things are relatively simple – you can take on more clients and grow your business that way.
If you’re selling a product, then things are a little bit more complicated. For example, you could keep selling the same products and just aim to sell more of them. Or, you could decide to branch out and introduce a new range.
Whatever your aims for growth, it’s vital that you make sure the figures add up before you commit to anything.
If you’re taking on extra clients, you need to be sure that you can provide them with the level of service they expect.
If you’re expanding your product line, or want to sell more of an existing product, you need to be sure that the demand is there.
If you’re not sure on exactly how you should target growth after making your working day more efficient, it’s a great idea to speak to a local business adviser. They’ll be able to provide you with specific advice based on your current position. You can find a database of advisers here.
Looking to the future
Our focus here has been on the first step towards growth, but some of you will no doubt have ambitions to expand even further.
That’s great – just be sure you always have a plan, and that you never overstretch yourself. And remember – advice is always on hand if you need it.