60-Second Guide to Managing Growth Over the Long Haul
Remember all the planning and research that went into starting your small business? Hopefully, that effort has paid off with results that are, at the very least, meeting your expectations. Now, you need to maintain that investment in research and analysis to sustain your short-term success well into the future.
In just 60-seconds, we'll show you how to develop a strategy for managing the long-term growth of your business.
0:60 Revisit Your Business Plan
Your business plan doesn't go up on the shelf just because your start-up phase is over. Refer to it often to make estimates accurately reflect today's realities. Even subtle changes in the marketplace may require you to alter existing contingencies and develop new ones.
0:44 Watch Those Numbers
Your financial statements provide insights into the health of your business. Project cash flow ahead several months based on reasonable expectations for sales and income, demand for your product and services, regular payments (e.g. loan payments and rent) and other factors. By comparing actual cash flow to projections, you can spot changes that will help improve performance.
0:34 Develop Relationships
Though your business may be gaining a reputation for solid work, it may be premature to bring on additional resources. Stretch your capabilities by building partnerships with other businesses in your field and with specialty consultants. They will also call on you when they need help-perhaps at a time when you could use the work.
0:25 Delegate Time-consuming Tasks
A growing business is sure to demand more of your time. That's why it's important to identify employees who can take on those routine and managerial responsibilities. They'll relish the opportunity to grow personally and professionally and you'll be free to focus on the road ahead.
0:13 Watch the Big Picture
What issues or trends affect your business? They may be as far-reaching as a change in the nation's foreign policy, or as seemingly minor as a new stoplight near your store. Stay current with your community, study your sales records and communicate with customers, suppliers and colleagues. This awareness will make you less susceptible to surprises and better prepared to capitalize on and even anticipate changes.
0:03 Keep Learning
You're sure to gain knowledge and instincts as your business experience grows. But even veteran entrepreneurs can benefit from the perspectives of others. That's what makes services like SCORE so valuable. Experienced volunteer counselors will serve as sounding boards for new ideas, and provide advice on issues both routine and unexpected. It's all free and available in person at a SCORE office, or via email at www.score.org.
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