By Paul Mizen, Managing Director of the Recruit Venture Group
Whatever an entrepreneur’s original reason for founding their business, sooner or later their thoughts will inevitably turn to the trickiest question of all – how to grow it.
Expanding successfully is rarely straightforward. Yet done right, it’s more than just a way to increase profits and consolidate market share – it’s also vindication of the entrepreneur’s vision and there can be few more rewarding achievements.
The following five tips will help entrepreneurs planning an expansion:
Ditch Plan B
According to my LinkedIn feed, not having a Plan B is the reason behind almost every failed start-up.
Yet to my mind, Plan B is often the problem. It’s the very thing that compounds a business’s struggles. It is Plan B that seals the fate of a potentially successful business.
Well, the problem with Plan Bs is they are invariably a reversal of everything that makes Plan A successful. Plan B is a bare bones, soulless alternative, the catalyst for a sequence of critical events, leading inexorably to a worsening of the situation. Don’t invest, cut. Don’t grow, downsize. Don’t think positive, think negative.
The hurried adoption of a Plan B is never a good sign and that is why I don’t believe in it. You don’t need Plan B when Plan A is already a winner.
Don’t run before you can walk
Instead of diving in rashly, take a step back. If you have the talent and the right support, you’ll reap the rewards. It’s all about the long game. That’s why I always tell our partners not to suddenly forget what they are good at. After all, this is their bread and butter and it is this that will allow them to build a successful business that will ultimately grow.
Seize all opportunities
There are many opportunities to be seized and some come from unlikely sources – government policy for example. Think of the Apprenticeship Levy, which applies to employers in England with an annual pay bill over £3 million. You can either fight such legislation or go out and get yourself a highly capable apprentice who will benefit your company.
When policies like this are introduced, there is no point getting distracted by fighting it. There are inherent opportunities, and in my experience it pays to work with the system rather than against it. Not every opportunity will come off, but those that do are worth it and could lead to further growth.
Don’t seek perfection
There is a fine line between doing your best and overthinking things. Striving for perfection can become your Achilles’ heel and hamper growth. Sometimes in business, good will have to do. In fast-paced industries like recruitment, there is no time for perfect.
Getting too hung up on something which isn’t your core business function, such as Facebook posts, can get in the way of doing what you do best. Keep your head down and keep working. In an ideal world, we would all be perfectionists, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
Better never stops
I find that the people who make it to the top are the ones who want it most. I was never the best in the class at school, but I have the drive and determination to succeed. I’ve put in the work and it has paid off.
Whatever industry you work in, you can’t afford to get complacent. You need to be adaptable and evolve, always striving to improve your skills and knowledge.
Always improving means avoiding falling behind the times and accepting help from those on hand. Entrepreneurs who are driven to make growth happen and build their own legacy will reap the rewards – not those who think things will just fall into their laps.