4 tips to grow your business
One of our Director’s Cathy Jenkins, was quoted in a recent talk at Henley Business School saying ‘I found growing my business to be one of the most challenging and the most rewarding experiences, a real rollercoaster ride.’
Growing your business as an SME can be one of the most stressful and rewarding journeys in business. MAXX Design is a small business with over 20 years of business experience but still very much on the learning journey. We celebrated our birthday in September with our staff and some key clients that made the anniversary possible. But even now, 20 years on, MAXX is in one of its biggest growth periods and has benefited from some expert support and advice from business growth experts at Vital Six and the Berkshire Business Growth Hub; something that has been essential to our success in recent months. Recently we have learned a few tips that have helped us not only to grow, but to thrive - we would like to share some of the top tips we have learned with you.
Where are you going?
It can be too easy to start growing your business without a plan (or even worse, without long term goals) – sometimes it just happens but if so, you may find yourself on a journey without a map, or even without a destination! It is important to understand why you are making the journey in the first place and you must be prepared for investment in services, equipment and staff. Don’t just consider business goals – think about the personal goals of the people driving the business, you must be able to achieve your personal goals as well as business goals in order to keep the business focused, motivated and driven.
Once you’ve worked out what you want in the long term for your business, you must plan how to get there – refreshing and constantly revising your business plan. Growing your business is exciting, but you MUST be prepared. Importantly, when you grow you need to ensure you are growing profitably!
Find the right people and reward them
Once you’ve established where you are going, and how you are getting there, you need to make sure you have the right people on board. When you are trying to fun fast, you can’t carry people – so you need people that are up to the job. We have been told, and stand by the rule that you must only employ those that are better than you! It is the quickest, most effective way to grow your business reliably, with staff you can totally trust. If you are hiring a high quality individual you must remember to add value to their lives as well, and reward them accordingly in order to keep hold of them. Valuing your staff will bring loyalty and results, and help you grow. If you fail to do this, you may end up losing someone integral to the success of your growth plan!
Manage your success
It’s important to set yourself and your team realistic targets when you are growing. Setting low or overly comfortable targets won’t help you in your period of growth, but setting unrealistically high targets may demoralise and demotivate yourself and your team too. You must take a careful look at the key areas for growth, and work out what is feasible, and what is a healthy challenge for yourself and your staff.
As much as we should look to manage our successes, we also need to manage failures as well and learn from our mistakes. A great many lessons can be learned from scenarios that haven’t gone to plan; so every project is an opportunity to grow in some way. Businesses must be willing to review these successes and failures to evaluate how to move forward.
Make sure that you are benchmarking your business so that you can make informed decisions as you move forward – getting a CRM that works hard for you is vital to this process.
One thing that MAXX has undoubtedly learned – particularly in the last year, is that it is important to accept help and advice in these times. Sometimes help comes from the least obvious sources – we see networking as vital to our growth – networking is not just for sales; we have met people through networking that has fundamentally changed our business. Also, you often will be surprised by the level of support available to you: for instance, the Berkshire Growth Hub offers funding for growing businesses as well as expert advice. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can be key in helping you to understand your business better, in order to take the next few steps, and it keeps you open to new ideas. Always keep an open mind to new ideas - as Cathy said in her talk: ‘You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain’.
We hope to be celebrating our 40th birthday in 20 years time, so we’d love to see your own tips and comments at the bottom of this article in the post box below so that we call all learn from YOUR experiences. We have to thank Berkshire Growth Hub and Vital Six, who have been instrumental in our success so far, in what has been a challenging and exciting growth period. They have supported us with business strategy, coaching for key members of staff and financial advice. We can’t recommend them enough, so visit their website to find out more.
MAXX is a graphic design agency, also specialising in digital web projects, web builds, SEO, social media and marketing. Get in touch today to see how we can help you grow through the art of business by design. Don’t forget to sign up to the MAXX blog today for weekly news updates, hints and tips, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.