If your small business is starting to pay off, or your side hustle’s stealing the limelight from your 9-5 job, it could be time to think about growth. Growing your business, whether it’s by adding new products, opening new locations, pushing your marketing or hiring more staff can lead to big successes for you – you could make your dream your full time job, or your carefully incubated business idea really start to pay you back!
Growth is not without its risks though, and it could be worth your while getting help to make plans before you launch any big projects or campaigns. You might think strategy or growth consultants are reserved only for the biggest brands and people with the most money to spend, but the sector itself has been growing and if you search the more specialised consulting boutiques London hosts you’ll find help for every level of business at reasonable costs.
There are all sorts of risks that come with business growth.
The most obvious is the financial risk. All growth costs money, whether it’s buying new products (or developing them from the ground up!), hiring more people or spending more on marketing. Whether you pay out of your business’ savings, your own pocket, or with a bank loan or an injection of cash from an investor, you take on risk. Using your own or your business’ money can leave you short of essential funds, taking a loan leaves you beholden to the repayment schedule, which again could be difficult if that growth project doesn’t pay off. Funding from an investor has an entirely different set of strings attached: they will expect their money to come with influence over the business, compromising the independence and flexibility you’ve found by going your own way!
- Brand Dilution
Every business has a brand, not just retail giants like Coke or Nike. It’s how customers understand your business on a personal level, the image of it they can feel loyal to or excited about.It’s easy for poorly planned growth to conflict with the brand you’ve built (consciously or unconsciously) and undermine it. Adding new products that don’t fit well with your existing inventory or a change in your marketing that tries to sell a new image of your business like trying to go from a select luxury brand to a value proposition with broad appeal can not only fail to bring in new customers, it can leave your previous loyal shoppers conflicted about coming back to you.
How Consultants Can Help
Growth consultants help you plan growth in advance, to avoid some of these pitfalls. They can help you identify the strengths of your brand so your growth can lean into them, or sell changes as organic developments rather than alienating shifts.
They also help you plan for the financial challenges of growth, with more accurate costings (and savings you might not be aware of!), and better understandings of the advantages and disadvantages of different funding options.
It’s definitely well worth considering getting some expert help when your small business is ready to take the next step.