4 Tips for Planning Ahead as You Scale Up Your Business

4 Tips for Planning Ahead as You Scale Up Your Business

(Image: iStock.com/portishead1 )

While my own business eventually thrived, I was one of the lucky ones. Most businesses fail before taking off due to poor planning and implementation. Still, more companies remain stunted in their growth by a similar failure to think ahead.

Imagine a busy city road. When the city first built it, the city’s planners had fewer cars and pedestrians to account for. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper, rush-hour traffic, you’ve probably directed some angry thoughts their way. However, when the city finally begins construction to expand the road, it causes an even bigger headache. Had the city originally anticipated the need for room to grow, you wouldn’t be sitting there in the first place.

Failing to plan for growth is a great way to put a ceiling on your business’s potential. The interference in productivity that accompanies employee additions and office expansions has made me rethink my growth plans on more than one occasion. But to raise revenue and hit targets, I needed more people to handle the workload. Spending money now to save time later is always wise because the better-equipped you are to adapt, the fewer opportunities will pass you by.

Don’t let bad planning end your company’s growth prematurely. Use these four tips to stay ahead of the market and be ready for whatever comes.

Be Every Employee

To understand your future needs, you must understand what your current employees do. Educate yourself on the roles of each staff member and learn their individual challenges. If you have 10 employees and only a vague idea of how each one contributes to the whole, schedule recurring one-on-one meetings to keep up with the evolution of each role as your business grows.

For me, taking an inventory of my employees meant giving up control of some tasks I did myself. It can be tempting to micromanage, but if you want to build a stronger workforce, delegate more tasks and give your employees chances to show what they can do.

Train Less, Do More

The last thing any business owner wants to do is spend days or weeks learning how to use software that’s supposed to make life easier. If the seller takes a long time to describe what the software does and even longer to explain how to use it, you might be better served going with the option that doesn’t require a doctorate to understand.

I’ve noticed that while our business can always make more money, it can never make up for lost time. Many software options are available to young companies for project management, financial reporting, and more, but time spent learning a tool is time that could usually be better spent pursuing the company’s primary goals. Don’t be change-averse, but recognize when a learning curve outweighs utility.

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Daniel Wesley founded Quote.com to provide consumers with auto insurance quotes from leading carriers. His work has been featured in Forbes, Mashable, Inc., and Fox Small Business.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.