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Scaling up your business

7 January 2019 No Comment

If you count yourself among the millions who has started up your own business over the past year or two, it is almost certain that the business plan you so carefully crafted included some fairly impressive growth plans. What many startups fail to fully appreciate, however, is that growth is not a simple, linear process of more sales leading to an increase in turnover and a more healthy bottom line.

Setting up the infrastructure

A large proportion of businesses are web-based and operate perfectly successfully from the business owner’s home. As the operation grows and the need emerges to take on more staff, this business model becomes a little less convenient.

For sure, it is possible for remote teams to continue to operate in this way, using virtual platforms like Slack and Trello to communicate, share tasks and even indulge in a little “water cooler” banter and gossip. But despite the wonders of modern technology, there are still times when only face to face meetings will do.

These two aspects of physical infrastructure and human resources are among the biggest challenges that a growing business has to face. Let’s look at each in turn.

Office options

One option is to take the plunge and buy or rent office facilities. Buying sounds like a major step, but commercial real estate is a valuable asset. It also gives your business the opportunity to really develop a tangible brand image that goes beyond an online presence.

Commercial agent Cattaneo Commercial has observed a growing trend towards businesses moving away from the city centres and into the suburbs. As well as providing a far more reasonable rate per square foot, basing your business in a more suburban setting makes it a more relaxing place for clients to visit, and also gives you the opportunity to really make your organisation part of the local community.

Of course, there are some businesses that need a city centre location due to the clients and suppliers with whom they operate. In this case, if the main purpose of the office is for client meetings, a virtual office from a supplier like Regus can be an ideal solution. They essentially provide a mailbox, a prestigious city centre address and conference facilities as and when needed.

Staffing options

Employing staff is a big decision. Taking on one or two people in core, business-critical and revenue generating roles, for example in operations, sales and strategy makes a lot of sense. However, be cautious about building an empire for the sake of it.

The best modern businesses run lean and focus on their core skills, so think twice about building up peripheral internal functions such as a finance, IT or an HR team. Instead, it often makes more sense to place these tasks in the hands of a third party provider. Businesses large and small are seeing more pros than cons to outsourcing. It provides you with resources that have expertise in their given niches, reduces the time you devote to non revenue generating activities and often works out to be more cost effective.

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