Top Tips For Growing Your Business
By Emmie Faust
Emmie Faust is a Business Consultant and Growth Expert specialising in helping small to medium size businesses grow, with an emphasis on marketing, digital and finance. After setting up and scaling 3 businesses, Emmie founded her own consultancy so she could share her knowledge and work around her family. A mother of 4 herself, Emmie is passionate about helping female founders to flourish and grow. In this blog, Emmie explains what you need to consider in order to grow your business.
1. When you’re an early-stage business, how important is it to plan for growth?
It is always important to have growth in mind from the start, but it’s vital to understand your plan and objectives. Everyone is different. Do you want to grow your business to sell it? Or, do you want a ‘lifestyle business’? A lifestyle business is one that is set up and run primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income, to have a lovely lifestyle, and no more. It’s key to understand what your purpose and end goal is and then work backwards from that.
2. How much should you plan for growth?
It’s important to plan to grow your business, but not so much that it hinders your progress. I see a lot of businesses spend too long crafting business plans and talking about what might happen, rather than just getting out there and doing it.
You learn from running a business and not from theorizing about what might happen. I’m a big advocate of the Lean Startup methodology. The best way, in my opinion, is to get out there. Start small, stay lean, start learning and testing and see what works.
3. What sort of areas should you be focusing on from the start, with growth in mind?
I always do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats). Look at your strengths and weakness and then at your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Next, do lots of market research. Consider the future of your industry, what are the customer and market trends? Where are the opportunities and what are the threats in the market?
If you want to grow your business and you’re across all of this, then you’ll be in a good place to succeed.
4. What are the key things that support growth in an early-stage business?
I’d say you need three things to support growth in an early-stage business. You need a good coach or mentor, all your finance to be spot on and good staff. Find the right people and look after them.
When it comes to finance, you need to find a good bookkeeper and a good accountant. It’s vital to know what you’re making each month, to know when your taxes are due and to understand your monthly profit and loss statement. That way, you’ll be able to see which areas of the business are making a profit (or a loss).
5. What are the key things that stop growth?
Absolutely every area of your business has the potential to hinder growth.
Not having the right team could stall growth. Lacking the right business partner could hold you back. Not knowing your numbers, not measuring your marketing, not doing the right marketing, not having the right strategic partners, not having the right products and not having a good process in place: all of these things can stop growth.
It’s more helpful to concentrate on what needs doing in order to grow rather than think about what might hinder growth.
6. Are there key areas of your business you should be monitoring especially?
You should measure and report monthly on all areas of your business. This include your profit and loss accounts, your key marketing metrics (I have written a blog on key marketing metrics here if you’d like to know more), profit, revenue, the number of leads you’re getting in, conversion rates and the lifetime value of your customers.
7. What tools do you recommend for measuring growth KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)?
I use google analytics. It’s an amazing free resource . If you want some extra info on measuring data and analytics, I recently did a podcast with Matt Duggan talking about Digital Trends 2020 and the importance of Google Analytics and Data which could prove useful.
8. For solo founders, it can be tricky when your business suddenly starts to grow. When you’re a team of one, you can suddenly find yourself overstretched and overwhelmed. What would you advise?
It’s important to delegate where you can and find good people that you can outsource to. Find suppliers/ freelancers/ VA’s whoever you need that can help free up your time without taking on full-time salaried staff that you can’t afford.
This is one of the things that I find myself helping quite a few start-ups with. They need additional resources and they want someone reliable and good value, who can work freelance initially. Sometimes those people are hard to come by. Have a listen to one of my episodes here about how a VA can help you grow your business.
9. How important is marketing to the growth of your business?
It’s essential that you have a marketing strategy in place if you want to grow your business. The mistake that so many people make is that they don’t realise that marketing is a vital investment.
If you have all your ducks in a row, the more marketing you do (assuming it’s the right kind of marketing and you’re doing it well), then the more sales and profit you should make.
10. How important is it to pay attention to your competition?
When I start working with a client we always look at the competition. I don’t do this to copy the competition but to assess where there are opportunities in the market and what we could do to make our business even better. One of the most important things to consider is how to stand out in a cluttered market.
11. What are your top tips for early-stage businesses thinking about how they’re going to grow in 2020 and beyond?
1. Have got the right finance people in place.
2. Measure what you’re doing.
3. Have a proper marketing strategy in place.
This will ensure you’re not wasting money on marketing.
Check that you’re not just doing what everyone is telling you to do, but that you’re using tactics that are tailored specifically to your business.
4. Make a positive impact.
5. Look after everyone involved in your Business.
Care for your suppliers, your employees, your customers and of course, yourself!
6. Enjoy it!
Have fun. If it all gets too much you probably don’t have the right help in the place. Look at getting help in the areas where you are feeling overwhelmed or stretched.