November 3, 2017
So, you’ve started a business – what’s next? Most business owners and entrepreneurs dream of growing their business but, to be able to do this successfully, you need to prepare yourself; and the sooner you start, the better. Here’s how to prepare your start-up business for growth.
The importance of automation and business processes
Having a business means a lot of time spent on, quite frankly, tedious tasks; and, unfortunately, these tasks take up a lot of your time.
Because of this, you don’t have the time to focus on scaling your business, because e-mails, invoices, bills, and so on are taking that time away from you.
Successful businesses with big turnovers almost always optimize and automate all of these different tasks so that they can rest assured that everything is running smoothly, with little interference from actual humans.
Start by identifying all of the different tasks that you need to perform regularly, as well as the tasks that take up too much of your time.
Once you’ve got a list of all these different tasks, start creating systems to streamline them, or find tools that will help you automate these tasks.
For example, some of the main things that you can automate and creates processes for are:
• Marketing automation – Use marketing automation to engage your leads and convert them, without having to send each e-mail yourself. This way, you can set up multiple marketing automation workflows in one go, and rest assured that they’re doing their job
• Get VAs to help with tasks – Create a clear system that VAs can follow, and let them handle those easy, yet very time-consuming tasks. There are so many different tasks that you can outsource; and although it might be an extra expense, it will help free up your time so that you can focus on the tasks only you can do.
• Scheduling and meeting – If you have a lot of meetings, use a calendar that requires the least amount of work on your part. There are numerous options which allow you to set the times when you’re free and then anyone who wants to set an appointment can use the calendar to choose their preferred time based on your availability. Just imagine how many back and forth e-mails and phone calls you can avoid this way.
• Accounting — Accounting can take up so much of your time, so get a tool to help, or an accountant to deal with everything on your behalf. It’s time consuming, and it takes you away from the tasks that you should really be focusing on.
Additionally, you should also try to make life easier for yourself and your employees by using different productivity tools, such as:
• Cloud storage system — A central cloud storage system that everyone on your team can use (once again, no more back and forth e-mails)
• A tool for communicating — Instead of relying on e-mail, phone calls and WhatsApp, get a tool that allows for team communication. This way, all conversations are stored in one place for your convenience. You can share files, and look through conversations to find what you need in seconds.
• A system for approving content — Whether it’s social media, your blog, or whatever other type of content you create, you should ideally set up an easy-to-follow system for sharing the content created with the team and approving them. Every member of your team should be clear on who does what, when they need to do it, who needs to review it, and so on – then, they can simply upload the content in the designated place to get approval quickly.
The sooner you start raising funds for business growth, the better. This way, you can avoid taking out large loans with big interest rates, or having to share your business with investors.
Be very clear on how you plan to invest in your business; then, start saving up the money and, even better, look for ways to invest them so you can have your money work for you.
You might not be able to make all you need this way, but it will still help cut down on your future debt or obligations.
Start by studying all the different types of investments that you can make. A good way to start, particularly if you don’t have that much capital, is to focus on low-risk investments, such as:
• Bank savings account;
• Fixed-rate savings bonds;
• Government, municipal, and corporate bonds;
• Peer-to-peer lending schemes;
• Bond funds and bond-ETFs.
If you have the capital, and more experience with investing, you can also try higher risk investments, but those that have a high potential return.
At the end of the day, it’s up to your knowledge level, as well as your risk tolerance, to decide which option is best for you.
Hire and train the right people
In my experience, one of the most difficult tasks a business owner has, is to find the right employees . Without them, it doesn’t matter how amazing your ideas are, or how much money you have to invest in your business – you can’t do everything yourself and you need good people to help you achieve your dreams.
In the past, I’ve found this to be a much more difficult task than finding funding for business ideas. Truly.
Find the people that not only have the skills needed for the job, but also people that share your vision for business growth and that are willing to challenge you. Don’t just look for those that can do what you tell them to; find those people that want to grow with you. This way, you won’t have to constantly find new employees to train.
Once you find good employees, reward them and create a loyalist team; ask for their opinions and make them an integral part of your business. Basically, make them want to stay with you through thick and thin; even if it might cost you more to keep them as employees rather than to hire new people, they’ll bring much more to the table, not to mention, you’ll save time on constantly finding new employees to hire, on training them, and on keeping an eye on them to make sure they’re doing their job properly.
If you have any such people already working for you, reward them. If not, start looking for them now – remember that you need them as much as they need you.
Building a scalable business is not easy; to sum up, you should:
• Automate all the tasks you can;
• Increase productivity with useful tools for storage, communication, and so on;
• Start saving money and growing funds for when the time comes and you need to invest in your business in order to grow it;
• Find the right employees and make them an integral part of your business strategy.
Follow these tips, and you’ll get much closer to achieving your dreams of a successful, scalable business.
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and No. 10 Downing Street. She is listed in Forbes as one of top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle.