When you work for yourself, at some point you’ll have to make the big decision: are you happy to keep ticking over in employment or do you want to build a real business? Of course, there are pros and cons for both but that’s another blog for another day. But the chances are that if the sun is shining, you’ll want to make hay.
If your appointment book is full to bursting, there’s never enough time in the day to fit in all your customers, and the phone keeps ringing with new enquiries, it could be time to make the leap. Here are six steps for starting and growing your business
- Have a clear vision and purpose
From the outset you need core values. Decide where it is you want to go and then get there. ‘Seeing what happens’ was never the path to success. With a clear goal, it’s easier to be determined to reach it.
- Be realistic
Taking step one on board, now it’s time to assess if you’re being realistic. Goals are good, but only if you can feasibly achieve them. Don’t set out to be Apple. Know what you’re good at, and more importantly what you’re not. Set your realistic goals after a good long look at your ideas.
- Develop strategy
With goals in place, now it’s time to work out how to get there. You already know where you want to go (step 1) and have figured out where you are on that road (step 2). Now you need to develop a way to reach your targets.
With clearly defined and realistic goals, and a solid plan of action, now it’s time to make it happen.
Of course, the specifics will be different for each company. A new media start up will have different goals, strategy and execution from a window cleaning business. But the basic principles are exactly the same.
- Business milestones
Along the way, every growing business will reach certain milestones. Whether that’s taking on their first employee or turning over £1 billion. It’s important to recognise these building blocs to success. Once you reach a milestone, write down what the next target is. It could be a certain amount of turnover each month. Once you hit this, increase the figure and then aim for that. These short-term targets will help to drive the business.
- Growth hacks and top tips
Some companies are able to discover short cuts in the growing process. Either by clever marketing or innovative strategy they can grow rapidly and establish themselves in the market place. When Facebook started it limited users to college students. This created an idea that it was a young and exciting company. Spotify initially only allowed users who had been recommended, spreading word of mouth and making it seem exclusive. Viral marketing and social media hacks have also proven to be very successful.
Through clearly defined goals, clever strategy, identifying milestones and good old fashioned hard work, you can grow your business and make it a huge success. Or you could just keep things ticking over. It’s up to you.