When I meet an SME owner for the first time, one of the first things that needs to be established is whether it is a lifestyle business or whether there is a vision for growth. If we’re honest, most businesses start out as lifestyle businesses and grow to a point where the owner is comfortable enough to make the difficult decision to embark on the next growth cycle with a vision in mind. You need to be aware that growing a business is a totally different process and requires much courage at times. The pressure and intensity is far greater. You either thrive or don’t.
In some cases you may require funding to commence the growth of your business; this can cause butterflies. However, do not be concerned. If you believe in yourself and have carried out detailed planning, stay focused and implement your plan.
One thing you will ask yourself is, “How do I take the next step, but minimise my exposure?” The answer is to use the services of someone who has experienced this before. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. The key is to play to your strengths and get help in the areas where you may be weaker.
I recall when I got to the point when the decision between lifestyle and growth had to be made. At that time we were operationally very strong with detailed processes and measurement, but needed expertise on the marketing front. Like anything new, you need to take that first big step. Imagine you had someone to help you, someone who has experienced all these things; it makes a massive difference. Once you start to experience it, you get more comfortable and grow in confidence. Logically, having that experienced person with you means you make more right than wrong decisions, saving yourself a small fortune. When I did this, our profit went from around £700k to £2m. Wow, the value of experience!
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