6 Ways for Small Businesses to
Minimise Their ‘Growing Pains’
Here at The Gattinetts, our business units at East Bergholt, just north of Colchester, are home to many start-ups, so we are familiar with the typical challenges facing a small business.
One of the biggest challenges for any small start-up company is how to manage the process of growing the business. It’s a nice problem to have – but growing a business can mean two major headaches.
First, there is the task of finding a larger office or workshop space to accommodate more people and/or equipment, stock and so forth. Many start-ups begin life in small business units which they then have to leave as soon as the company takes on more than one or two extra people. This means a change of business address and phone number, and disruption to existing staff and customers alike.
Second, there is the problem of attracting good quality staff that you can trust to take on more of the day to day work.
At the same time, a growing business means more complexity and change in a number of areas, including:
Finances – This includes ensuring staff get paid, and managing cashflow.
Client Management – More clients means bigger management overheads and time spent ensuring existing customers stay happy.
Workload – More business means more work to be managed, which often means a need for more formal work processes to ensure nothing gets missed, and to ensure consistent quality.
So are all of these problems inevitable – or are there ways to help a business grow while minimising the pain? Each company will be different of course, but here we suggest 6 ways to minimise the effort needed to grow:
1. Find a Good Business Accountant
If you’ve been taking care of the accounts yourself, it is essential to find someone to take care of day to day financial tasks such as paying staff, paying bills, HMRC returns and so on. Handing this element over to a qualified professional gives you two major advantages if you’re trying to grow. Firstly, it frees up your time to focus on the core business. Secondly, it minimises the risk of financial issues (such as problems with HMRC, or unforeseen cashflow difficulties) threatening the growth you are trying to achieve.
Look for someone with experience of looking after a small business, who will give you regular overviews of where you stand as a company.
2. Keep Debt Low
While some planned debt can be acceptable (e.g. a business loan as part of an overall growth strategy), it pays to keep your debt levels as low as possible. As well as keeping down your overall risk level, it improves your chances of getting a business loan if you need to, or of attracting investors, or even a buyer for the company if that is your long-term goal.
3. Have a Clear Vision and Plan
It has been shown that companies with a clear vision and plan for where they want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time have a much greater chance of succeeding. Having a plan – and reviewing it at regular intervals – helps a business owner decide how quickly they want to grow and what actions need to be taken to achieve it. It is worth getting professional advice on this, to enable a more managed growth process.
4. Document Your Processes
If you want other people to take on different aspects of your company’s work, it needs to be documented so they can pick things up quickly. This saves the business owner(s) having to spend lots of personal time teaching and re-teaching new staff, and also enables them to delegate with greater confidence.
5. Choose Premises That Let You Grow
It’s understandable to want a small workspace to begin with, to keep down unnecessary costs – but it helps if your chosen premises have the potential to grow with you, without having to relocate. Ideally, try to find premises which contain multiple business units within the same building or complex, enabling you to expand more easily when the time is right.
6. Choose Premises that Will Appeal to Employees
Talented staff often prefer jobs with larger firms, for reasons of stability, and the various facilities and perks that bigger firms can usually supply – like free parking on site and access to modern services. Working out of makeshift premises can look unprofessional, both to your customers and to potential employees.
The Gattinetts’ Business Units
The Gattinetts Business Centre has a range of business units for rent which are ideal for companies in Colchester, East Bergholt, Ipswich and Hadleigh. We offer many units of different sizes so that you can move into a larger one if you need to in the future, minimising any disruption to your business or confusion for your customers.
Situated halfway between Ipswich and Colchester our business units are easy to get to from either location, therefore widening the pool of people willing to travel to you for work (as well as being convenient for customers in both towns). The units themselves benefit from modern decor and facilities including WC, kitchen and heating, while the site offers free parking and pleasant, semi-rural surroundings.
Follow this link if you would like to find out what units we currently have available.