It’s well known that SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy. But with so much going on, it can be challenging for business owners to take a step back and realise when their business is on the cusp of growth. Here, Steve Noble, Chief Operating Officer, Ultimate Finance, reveals the signs to look out for…
You certainly need to be resilient as a small business owner. There are so many aspects to running a business and, no matter what happens, you’ve just got to keep the balls in the air and keep your customers happy. With multiple decisions to make every day, cash flow to manage, staff to motivate and deadlines to meet, it’s easy for the worry to build up.
Often what keeps small business owners going through thick and thin is the simple belief that they are good at what they do and have a proposition with the potential to really succeed. We have a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the UK – more than 650,000 new businesses started up in 2016 according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, a new record. It’s people having belief in their ideas and the courage to make them a reality that fuels this start-up culture.
Success is not likely to come easily. It takes considerable time, effort and resource to build a business. Until the company has reached a point where it can afford to take on its first employee or rent some office space, it can often be a ‘one man (or woman) band’ – with the owner filling every role from CEO to front-of-house in the early days.
For some business owners, they are absolutely happy to operate as a small or micro business. But for others, they’re keen to grow the business and extend their operations. Growth is the logical next step – but it can seem quite intimidating.
It’s also quite easy to put off. It’s something that can be put in the ‘nice to do’ box while the owner carries on as they are and ignores the signs that their business has reached the point where it needs to move to the next stage.
In my experience, there are a number of ‘tipping points’ that can indicate a business is beginning to outgrow itself such that it could be time for the owner to seriously consider making changes to allow the company to grow and enter the next phase of its existence.
Here are some common growing pains symptoms for small businesses:
- You’re having to turn down work
This is the time to go back to your business plan and assess your growth plans and aspirations. Do you need to take on more staff? Change your business model? No business should be standing still.
- Your balance sheet is good but you’re working flat out
- Your current premises (kitchen table?) are no longer fit for purpose
Moving the business on
If any of these ‘symptoms’ feel familiar, then it could be time to think seriously about expanding your business. This can seem a little scary, but there is plenty of advice and help out there, particularly when it comes to financing an expansion.
Funding can be the key to growth. Finding a partner that’s right for you can help you move your business on and boost both your wellbeing and your bottom line.