The oft-cited statistic that 90% of startups fail has been attributed to various factors, from not being able to carve a niche in the marketplace to lacking a solid business model. However, in a 2017 article, Entrepreneur noted that most of the reasons that the remaining 10% succeed are related to attitude and flexibility within their staff.
In a sense, if your startup is lucky enough to be included in that ten percent bracket, you’ve found success. However, finding a way to continue expanding your small business after its initial flush of prosperity is the crucial next step to ensure its longevity.
Here are three places you should consider expanding so that you can take your SME to the next level once you’ve achieved the initial goals you set out when you started the company.
Expand your staff
Finding new staff should be like shooting fish in a barrel—particularly since nearly half of millennials would prefer to work for SMEs than larger companies—so incentivising jobseekers to apply for your company over any other is essential. Despite being responsible for 60% of private sector jobs, SMEs find hiring new employees their biggest challenge, according to a survey of over 1,100 small businesses conducted last year.
This is as much a result of a rapidly diminishing talent pool as it is uncertainty around whether or not startups have the budget to do so, but the desire to bolster their number of employees remains a consistent factor. Indeed, CityAM states that 22% of SMEs would prioritise new hires in the event that their revenue were to double. Of course, you should only hire the number of staff that you can afford, but having a dedicated amount of money set aside to cover wages for new hires will give you the security that you can increase your workforce.
Training is a pivotal concern for 90% of workers, with nearly 70% saying they would accept lower wages in return for comprehensive skills development on the job. Consequently, consider introducing a recruitment program which trains new starters as a way of incentivising graduates or those moving from other sectors. This not only satisfies your staff and helps build loyalty, but will help enhance the relationship between you and your employees, as well as aiding you in establishing your company’s culture and values.
Expand your premises
If you do expand your team, it’s more than likely that you will need a larger office base for them to work in. Finding new, larger business premises can also better accommodate meetings with clients, as well as giving you a new space from which to set out your vision for the next phase of your business. Moving offices is one of the harder tasks associated with business expansion, so knowing how to undertake the transition to a larger space is essential. Evolve Relocation note that hiring a specialist office relocation service saves time and money on having to “source, instruct and coordinate multiple contractors”.
Alternatively, you may even need to open up a second location to accommodate demand; this is particularly relevant to retail businesses. Running two premises may initially be a trickier proposition, as getting used to running one of them remotely takes some time. You will also need to be absolutely certain of the economic benefits of a second premises, whether it be to increase your customer base or raise the amount of work your business is capable of undertaking.
Expand your services
Once you have the staff and the location, think about how you can use these to your advantage in relation to the services or products your business provides. Expanding the scope or scale of your business could also broaden your company’s reach, and enable you to connect your services with even more people. This also involves a great deal of market research, as well as ensuring you have the technological infrastructure to carry this out as successfully as possible.
Diversifying your business model is also a great way to make use of the new pool of talent you have acquired. Make the most of your employees’ strengths and work out which additional, complementary services you could offer which make use of those skills. This could range from introducing a development wing to your web design company or even getting in touch with other firms to partner up in a mutually beneficial way.
So while expanding your business can be a nerve-wracking leap into the unknown, even if you’re ready to do it, with enough forward-planning and market research, you can take your SME to the next level with ease.