The only thing scarier than starting a small business is keeping it alive. The journey is a constant roller coaster of emotions, with important decisions at every bend. Starting up is difficult, but then come the growing pains, and the constant need to scale while keeping to the budget.
Every decision comes with a risk, and sometimes lack of action can actually be more detrimental than making a change. Here are a few ideas that can ease the transition of your business from a one-person operation to a real company with more cogs in the wheel.
When You Buy—Think Modular
You’ll inevitably have to buy equipment, be that a camera, computer, heavy machinery, or storage bins. When you do, think with foresight; will this be something that you will be able to fit into the big picture even once you have more tools or products? For example, industrial shelving is the best option for someone who needs to store materials or inventory. It looks in place in your garage, basement, or storage locker, and you can easily move it into a warehouse down the road and buy some more. The same holds true for things like software.
Though sometimes this is a more expensive option in the long run, hiring independent contractors or outsourcing some of your work to consultants gives you a lot more flexibility. Your team can grow and shrink as your budget and workload does, and you can hire based on specific roles you need at that point in time.
Share with Other Businesses
Talk to other business owners. See if you can combine orders with suppliers to get wholesale pricing, share an industrial kitchen, or even sign a lease on a warehouse together. There’s always an opportunity that networking can present to you. If sharing isn’t an option, consider borrowing or renting until you are sure that you need a specific item to keep your business in operation.
Have a Plan
Life doesn’t always go according to plan. But having one with goals means that you know how to position yourself to start the journey towards success. Keep it flexible but imagine your business as you want it in the future and start making small steps to get it there. Sometimes opportunities present themselves, sometimes things take longer than you think, but keep plugging away and you’ll think of a smart way to scale your business.
Growing pains are painful, but they are signs of development and potential success. Keep at it!