Living (and working) through a global pandemic made many of us reconsider what we do and how we do it. It brought to light internal inefficiencies, team disparities, and steps taken away from what fulfills us most. From quitting their 9-to-5s, starting businesses, buying homes, and making financial investments, the pandemic pushed people to take a leap of faith in whatever direction was calling them.
For many business owners, this meant the gears started turning. Traditional revenue became unreliable, so those creative brains came up with solutions to navigate the uncertainties. You’ve likely seen your fair share of wins and losses along the way, and you might be thinking about how you can turn those innovative ideas into money-making changes within your business.
But, before you get too far in planning, there are a number of boxes you need to check off before going full steam ahead into a new venture. Growth is exciting and inspiring, but it will also demand your time and resources. Set yourself up by following these five steps before taking the plunge.
Get clear on what you need.
There are so many areas in which you can grow, so getting crystal clear on your direction will help ensure it’s a successful endeavor. Consider what will help your business the most—hiring a new employee to oversee client accounts, freeing up your schedule to focus on operations and opportunities? Launching a new service line to diversify revenue streams? Opening up a brick-and-mortar in a new-to-you market? Figure out what you want so you can plan out how to get it.
Check-in with your finances.
All types of growth cost money, whether it’s payrolling more employees, leasing property, or research and development of a new offering. Your business must be financially stable before you start considering what’s next. If you’re barely breaking even or only profiting enough to pay yourself every few months, put a pin in your growth plans. Focus on building up revenue first; your big goals will still be there when you’re fiscally sound and sustainable.
Evaluate your team.
If you’re a solopreneur, this is an easy one. All you need to do is consider whether you’ll need to hire some extra help to pull off the big move. Be mindful of your bandwidth, understanding that growth endeavors are time-intensive processes. If you’re not in the place to hire a W-2 employee, you might find that a 1099 contractor is a great low-commitment solution to see you through the transition.
For those with teams already, you’ll need to discuss the future of your business with your staff. What does it look like for them? Will their roles change? Keep an eye out for those who are eager to be of extra support. You might find you still need to hire someone else (particularly if your existing employees are already at capacity), but getting your team’s input will help make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.
Assess your calendar.
Do you have time for this big step? Even if you hire a team to do the heavy lifting, your new venture will take up time and energy in your day. If you’re already working 13-hour days and have forgotten what a “day off” feels like, be cautious about biting off more than you can chew. Not only can this have a negative effect on your mental health, but it can also lead to an unfocused, disorganized process that ends up in failure. Make sure you have the capacity to see this project through to fruition.
Optimize your systems.
All of the above steps can be made far easier with a reliable set of systems in place, keeping your business operations running like clockwork. Your systems and workflows should be in a place where they can grow with you rather than hold you back. If your business feels chaotic and ineffective, focus on developing agile and efficient processes before moving forward with your growth plans. Software can fill many of these gaps, with robust CRMs and automation tools doing much of the legwork for you.
Treat your business like your home. You wouldn’t start any new projects or host a big party if it wasn’t already tidy and organized, right? When you have your ducks in a row, you will be more confident and assured as you traverse the uncharted waters of your future.