Small Business Growth: Key Mistakes to Avoid

Your small business is successful – so successful, in fact, you’re starting to think about growing it.


So how do you grow a business?


The first step to growth is to plan for it. Because whether you’re baking a cake or growing a business, the difference between flat as a pancake and rising like a dream is all in the preparation.


Read the recipe

Only 40% of small business owners say they feel knowledgeable about accounting and finance. If you’re planning to grow, now is the time to get to grips with your numbers and what they mean.


Understanding profit and loss is just the start – the number you really need to be concerned about is cashflow. Why? Because one of the biggest contributors to small business failure is poor cashflow. Getting visibility around your cashflow – and all your other numbers – is crucial if you want to make sure your business is in a strong position for growth.


To find out more about cashflow, our blog What is cashflow and how can you improve it? is a good place to start.


Get the measurements right

The difference between success and failure is all about the detail. A pinch too much of this, a little too little of that can cause the whole enterprise to sink.


Remember how you scrutinised every penny of spend when you first started and made sure you could justify it? It’s easy to forget those thrifty days now the business is successful, but it’s important that you don’t.


If you haven’t already, put an expense policy in place – it’s likely that your growth will involve more people travelling more often so it’s time to formalise your policies and outline what’s acceptable and what’s not.


If you want to know what to include in an expense policy, get started with this simple expense policy builder.


Make light work of the labour-intensive bits

Just as a food processor makes cake baking easy, so processes and automation make accounting admin easy. A growing business will mean more paperwork to process – putting additional pressure on your accounts team just when they’re trying to focus on the bigger growth picture.


Automation is the key to giving them more time to focus on the important things. Solutions like Concur Expense and TripLink automate travel and expense processes to make everyone’s life easier. Click on the links to see how. But it doesn’t stop at T&E, Concur Invoice can reduce the average cost of processing a single invoice by more than 80%. All combined, greater automation gives greater visibility, helping you to see your business picture much more clearly.


Keep an eye on the time

It’s all too easy to lose track of the time when your cake is baking – and we all know what happens when you do that.


Now’s the time to make sure your business is operating efficiently and everyone is making the best use of their time. Look at all the activities in your business and see which ones lead to income generation and which ones don’t. Focus your efforts on the activities that bring cash in and keep the time that’s spent on other tasks, like admin, to a minimum. Doing this will make your business more productive and more successful.


Don’t forget to admire your handiwork

Careful planning gives you the best possible chance of success. But growing a business is hard work, so don’t forget to enjoy the journey – take time to celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones. Because success isn’t so sweet if you forget to enjoy it!

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