Starting a small business is a lot like raising a child. You nurture it, spend sleepless nights taking care of it and giving your all with all the energy and love you can physically and mentally muster. Slowly but surely, you start to reap the benefits of all your hard work and begin to get something back.
Every win, big or small, are huge milestones in the early days of growing your small business, until one day you realise that things are not as they used to be. It could be the increasing volume of sales and your time ever more stretched, or perhaps there are operational difficulties you haven’t experienced before. Take comfort – these are common pain points for all growing small businesses. We can help – you must acknowledge them to overcome them. Read on for the most common pain points most small businesses face during their growth phase.
In effect, you are experiencing problems of scaling your business, and while these problems in theory are considered to be good problems to have, after all, it’s a sign that your business is growing, they can also become a major obstacle to your success if not addressed promptly and effectively.
Southside Accounting Can Help!
As small business owners ourselves, we have been in your shoes and can empathise with your pain points. Here are the most common pain points we have experienced ourselves and helped our clients with, which we hope will help you too to understand and overcome them.
1: Systems and processes
The systems that worked for you as a sole trader or small businesses with 1 or 2 employees may not achieve the same results now that you are a growing small business with growth ambitions.
In some instances, and in particular in cases of rapid business growth, you may need to streamline your processes promptly to avoid damage and loss. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do a complete overhaul and start again with a blank piece of paper to get you and your team working smarter. We strongly encourage you to consult and involve your team to share ideas and get involved with necessary process and system updates, so the transition to changes is easier on everyone.
2. Marketing on a budget
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money, at least for now, to get your marketing efforts more sophisticated to support the growth in your small business. There are plenty of affordable ways to market your business, here are some of them, which you may already do – and if so, well done you!
Content marketing is a simple yet great way to start marketing your small business. At little to no cost, you can create content channels such as your company blog and social media accounts as a good starting point.
One of the most effective sales tactics is compiling customer testimonials and asking your clients for feedback on the service you provide them. Find your most successful customers and conduct a case study and write and shot about it. The power of real life client stories will help promote your brand and attract the prospects you desire, those that find resonance with your client stories.
After creating your customer base, the next wise move is to keep them constantly engaged. Email marketing tools such as MailChimp and SendGrid can be helpful in keeping your customers informed and engaged with regular emails, updates, and even promotions of your products or services.
3: Sales momentum
Aside from creating a great product or service, growing a business requires owners to have an understanding and close and detailed knowledge of sales figures. Rather than merely enjoying an increase in sales or getting worked up on a sales decrease without any concrete evidence to mirror your joy or fear, take time to spot trends and growth patterns from the sales figures.
Doing this will help you strategise better on where to invest your time and other resources, and of course where not to. As a small business owner, if you take a strategic approach to your business, giving you that “world view” perspective, you will be better informed when making those important business decisions.
4. Face the competition head-on
Facing off the competition is a common problem that businesses face as they expand and start to get known in the marketplace. Invariably as a result, growth means having to exert more efforts to define and set yourself apart from competitors.
For businesses to avoid extinction, you have to understand your place in it and adapt. As in nature for example, it is possible for two species to co-exist peacefully together in the same environment using the same resources, as long as they find their niche, their place in the hierarchy As a small business, you will invariably have large competitors that you may aspire to sit alongside one day, but in the meantime, use your knowledge and insight of them to help better understand your own business niche and how you can co-exist together. And that is usually by offering something a little different.
5: Cash Flow
Did you know that 82% of the time small businesses fail due to poor cash flow management or poor understanding of their cash flow?
Knowing your business numbers is key to maintaining a consistent cash flow, regardless of what stage of business you are in. Without a consistent inflow of cash, all aspects of your business will suffer including day-to-day operations, innovation and adaption to your market to compete legitimately with competitors, and plans for growth could be postponed as a result.
There are plenty of causes for cash flow problems, the most common of them being debts and delayed payments from clients or customers.
During the early stages of your small business’ growth, your expenses are most likely going to be greater than your revenue. After all, you are still testing and validating your R&D, aside from figuring out sales and marketing and handling admin costs. However, never max out your existing cash, or worse, exceed it because of your expenses.
You can seek advise from an accountant, like Southside Accounting, to ensure you are getting tax relief on business expenses.
Southside Accounting can help
If you are a small business owner looking for support to grow and stabilise your costs and increase cash flow, Southside Accounting can help, providing accounting services and sole trader services in Wimbledon.
Southside Accounting are your local cloud accountants in Wimbledon and London. We’re local, like you. And we’re a dynamic small business. Just like you.
We are fully chartered, certified accountants so we’re well qualified to be the trusted advisers you need to help make your company a success.
All our clients are on the cloud and have access and support on cloud accounting software, in both QuickBooks and Xero.
Our fixed fee structure means there are no surprises. And our smart Service Plans are tailored to meet the particular demands of your business.
Call us to book a free no-obligation meeting today.
We always offer an initial free face to face meeting with prospective clients, so we can get to know you and your business and understand your unique circumstances and business goals.
Written by Shaima Todd.