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Turn your small business into a big one

Feb 16, 2015

Many business owners start out with the idea of turning their fledgling enterprise into a big business, but only a handful achieve this.

Here are five tips from the experts on things you must do to propel your business into the big league.

HAVE A VISION

Brian Scudamore is the founder and chief executive of rubbish removal company 1800-GOT-JUNK, which he has grown from a one-man business to an enterprise franchise in more than 170 locations across Australia, Canada and the United States.

The one thing business owners must do is to have a clear mental image of where they want to end up.

"Have a clear vision. Know what your future looks like, feels like, and acts like. It has to be a compelling vision that gets your people excited and focused," he says.

"Latch onto that picture as though it has already happened. Transport yourself into the future so you can see it with picture clarity. Share it with your team so they can see it and do what it takes to achieve it."

STAY FOCUSEDFocus on what you do well, says Chris Strode

Focus on the one thing your business does well, says Chris Strode, founder of Invoice2go, a payments app which last year raised $US35 million ($45 million) in funding, valuing the business at $US100 million.

"We spent many years building our business on the NSW Central Coast, which was great because we were able to stay focused on building a great product, and not get distracted by other things people were telling me I 'had' to do if I wanted to grow the business. I knew that if I nailed the product, it would sell itself, and the business would grow," Strode says.

"Not getting distracted by other, less important things also meant we were able to innovate faster than our competitors. So often, bigger businesses get bogged down in trying to do too many things well. I'd say if there's one thing we've learnt from our experience, it's just to pick the one thing you need to do really well to succeed, then do it."

DELEGATE

Small business owners can't do it all, says Dean Ramler, chief executive and founder of Australia's largest online furniture retailer, Milan Direct.

Ramler says that when he founded the business, he took on all the key roles himself – operations, marketing, logistics and so on – but it was only when he began to delegate, that the business took off.

"Even though I felt nobody would put as much care and effort into each role as I was, as soon as I started to hire great people and showed they had my trust, the business took off," Ramler says. "One by one, I handed off each role. This freed up my time to grow the business, which is what a CEO should be doing."

TAKE CALCULATED RISKS

"Be prepared to lose it all in the hope to make it big," says Adrian Raftery, who teaches business planning at Deakin University.

He says "slow and steady" is a good strategy for small businesses that want to stay small, but opportunities only last for a little while before another business owner jumps in to seize them.

However, taking risks doesn't mean being reckless.

"Business plans, due diligences and the advice of experts are all required to be put into the mix," Raftery says. "Don't buy other businesses for the sake of buying . . . buy them only if there is a strategic benefit to growing exponentially because you can take advantage of some of the unique features of the other business, for instance, national distribution channels."

THINK BIG

Set up your financial and other systems as though your business is already a big business, and ask yourself questions like "would this work if we had 50 staff or 100 clients"? says Jo Schneider, founder of Animal Therapeutics Online and of consultancy DVE Business Solutions.

"To give you an example, in the very beginning of DVE Business Solutions, when there were just two of us, I implemented an advanced online project management system that tracked the status of our projects and the hours we spent on each main task," Schneider says.

"While it wasn't necessary for just us, I was never thinking about 'just us'. I was thinking 'how would this work if we had 50 projects'?

Original article published on Brisbane Times - My Small Business 16 February 2015

Tags: 101 WaysFinancial PlanningSmall BusinessStarting a Business

Author: Christopher Niesche

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