Friday, April 24, 2015

Paths to growth

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     to help you better manage your small business.

     There are two ways to grow a small business. One is slow, the other is quick.

     Growing slowly means you can expand at the rate your business generates excess cash. You can plow the money back into the business--buying equipment, hiring an employee, or renting a bigger space. 

     Growing quickly means you might need to borrow the money to grow on. Or find another way to get where you want to go. 

     Example: Bill is a massage therapist. He got his training, license, and certification and began to build a client base. He worked alone, and that suited him. He networked and offered free demonstrations at events to attract more clients. Soon, he was giving massages full time. His was a single operator business, limited by his own efforts. To grow, he had to increase his prices--finding clients willing to pay more.

     Example: Ed is also a massage therapist--trained, licensed and certified. He wanted to get established and then grow into a larger operation. His long-term plan was to operate a wellness center offering massage and other holistic therapies to a wider client base. To this end, Ed began bringing in other single-operator therapists--nutritionists, yoga specialists, hypnotists specializing in pain management and eating habits. He rented a larger space and brought the specialists with him. Today, Ed is operating a growing wellness center--with plans to purchase the building. 

     Example: Judy, too, is a massage therapist. She also began by working alone, but she had ideas to expand. Using her client base developed over several years, Judy began contacting other wellness specialists, gradually putting together a group of single operators on call for their particular specialty. This resulted in an organization of certified experts in various wellness fields. Then she provided these services to medical doctors, wellness centers, spas, corporate health centers, and others. With only a website, social media and a home office, Judy now manages a growing group of specialists--on call to provide their services. She has grown with very little money outlays.

     Working alone in your small business, you are ultimately limited by what you alone can do. Time puts the damper on expansion. You can alleviate this to some extent by targeting high income clients and charging more. But, ultimately, that, too, will limit your growth and income. 

     Pathways to growth, however, are open to you. And growth does not necessarily mean an input of funds from a loan. Patience, ingenuity and creativity can help you find your own road ahead. 

     To find pathways to growing your own small business, consider all the alternatives. It's a matter of deciding where you want to be and then working out the map to get you there.