As a small business owner, one of the most exciting (and terrifying) parts of owning your own business is when it starts to grow. You realize you’ve got a winning formula, but now you’re not sure where your business is going to go. The possibilities keep you up at night; unfortunately, so does the fear. You want your business to grow into something long term, so you don’t want to make any major mistakes. Well, we’re here to help you avoid some of the more common mistakes business owners make when their company starts to grow.
Mistake #1: Taking on all that growth yourself
If you own a small business, there’s a high chance your company started out as a one-person operation. You’re used to doing everything yourself, and honestly, it can be hard to let go of any of it. The problem is if you don’t pass anything off, things are going to start falling through the cracks. As you start getting more customers, things are going to get busier and busier.
To avoid this mistake, write down all the tasks you do for your small business. Next to those tasks, write down how much time each takes. Then, write down if you’re an expert at it, you do it satisfactorily, or you don’t know what you’re doing. Using that list, think about the kind of person you could hire to fill some of those roles that take a lot of time and you have little expertise in.
Mistake #2: Hiring the wrong employees
When you’re looking to hire employees, don’t make the common mistake of going with the easiest hire. Whether they’re a family friend, or they’re the least-expensive option, you can easily hire somebody that won’t perform, or worse, cause more stress. You have to make sure they are the right fit for your business needs.
Whatever role you’re hiring for, make sure you do your due diligence. Research the role online, look for advice that other business owners have hiring for that role, and look for specific interview questions. Look for the self-starters, the ones who don’t need a lot of hand-holding to get the job done. These people are the future leaders of your growing company.
Mistake #3: Not investing in your infrastructure
As your business grows, you need to take a hard look at what your location, your equipment, and your processes can handle. Take a few minutes and think about how your location, equipment, and processes would hold up if you had twice the amount of business. What about 10 times the business? One hundred times? You want your business to be scalable, so look for software solutions, equipment, and processes that can grow with your increasing business.
Mistake #4: Not preparing for cash flow needs
A huge mistake a lot of small business owners make is not preparing for future cash flow issues. Too many small businesses wait to apply for a loan until their business is in trouble, and at that point, capital can be hard to find. If your business is doing well, now is the time to go to a lender for a line of credit or a business loan. Also, consider applying for a Small Business Administration loan, which have much lower rates than typical small business loans.
If you can avoid these common mistakes, your business will likely continue to grow and be successful. What other mistakes have you seen small business owners make as their business grows?