Does this scenario seem familiar? In the morning, you’re reaching out to customers and handling bookkeeping tasks. By the afternoon, you’re updating the content on your website and responding to emails.
As a woman of color entrepreneur, it may be necessary to wear multiple hats in your business during its start-up phase. Especially when you are building a business on a lean budget.
Multi-tasking in your business may be a necessary short-term strategy. However, it isn’t a sustainable long-term plan to build an impactful and profitable business. Not only can wearing many hats lead to burnout and frustration, but it can also stunt the growth of your business.
That’s why it is essential that every entrepreneur work to build a scalable business. You may be operating every aspect of your business now. But your long-term goal must be to develop a business that can operate successfully regardless of who is completing the day-to-day tasks.
Why is scalability important for business growth?
Sure, you want your business to grow, reach its full potential and generate tons of revenue. But have you ever thought about what it takes to grow a business from a mom-and-pop company to one with a strong local, national or global presence?
Taking your business to the next level requires scalability. This means that your company will have systems in place to handle the demands of increased sales and customer needs while remaining profitable and efficient.
Global companies like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, Amazon, Mattel and Disney all started in a garage. But the founders developed processes that ensured they wouldn’t stay there. Without scalable systems in place to expand their reach, these companies would probably be out of business by now or operating beneath their potential.
Scalable businesses in every industry:
- Have a mission that guides the overall business strategy.
- Employs a solid business team of people with specialized expertise.
- Have a business manual and policies in place.
- Develop systems that every employee uses.
- Create recurring streams of revenue.
What can women of color entrepreneurs do to scale their businesses?
Women of color entrepreneurs are starting businesses at a record pace. More than 4 million minority-owned businesses generate $700 billion in revenue each year.
While this may be an impressive figure, there are countless minority-owned businesses that fail at an alarming rate. One of the primary reasons is most of these businesses aren’t built for growth.
Interested in building a scalable business that has unlimited growth potential? Here are 5 things women of color entrepreneurs can do to build scalable companies.
1. Evaluate the current state of your business. Set aside time to take stock of your business to determine if it can handle growth. Use the following questions to guide your evaluation.
- Does your company have systems and staff in place to handle additional customers and new orders?
- What tools are you using to measure business progress?
- How many customers does your company need to acquire to break even or become profitable?
- What are the costs associated with operating your business?
- Does your company provide excellent customer service?
- Do customers regularly refer your company to their friends, colleagues and family members?
- Have you automated repeatable tasks in your business?
2. Determine your business goals. With fewer than 3 percent of the American population setting goals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that only a small percentage of people achieve their dreams.
Setting goals and reviewing them each day helps you focus on tasks that align with your business strategy. If you haven’t been setting goals in your business, start today. Without clear goals, you won’t be able to grow your business beyond its current state.
The following resources can help you learn more about the importance of setting goals for your business and personal life.
- Success Through Goal Setting
- Top Free Goal Setting Courses and Tutorials Online
- Secrets for Effective Goal Setting
- Goal Setting Workshop
3. Invest in technology to automate your business. From bookkeeping to online scheduling, there are hundreds of tech solutions that can decrease the expenses of scaling your business. Using the right technology can make it easier for you to scale and automate your business.
Types of technology include:
- Customer Relationship Management Software
- Bookkeeping Software
- Tax Software
- Social Media Management
- Content Creation
- VOIP Phone Services
- Marketing Automation
- Sales Management
- Inventory Control
Before you invest in new technology, here are a few things to consider. Make sure your new technology integrates with your current systems. You should also select technology that will grow with your business. That way, you won’t have to replace it every time your business experiences a growth spurt.
4. Outsource non-revenue generating tasks in your business.
Since time is limited, you don’t want to waste it by performing tasks that won’t generate revenue. Responding to emails, cleaning your office and organizing your file cabinet are necessary tasks – but they won’t grow your business.
As soon as you can afford to do so, hire an independent contractor to take care of menial tasks. That way, you can spend your time on activities that attract customers and boost your company’s bottom line.
Here are a few sites you can use to hire independent contractors and freelancers.
- LinkedIn Talent Solutions
- People Per Hour
5. Create and stick to a plan.
When you travel to an unfamiliar destination, you will need a map or you’ll get lost. The same thing is true when you grow a business. Without a business map or plan, it’s easy to get distracted by the latest shiny objects in your industry and get off course.
Create a plan that addresses the important areas of your business. These may include technology, infrastructure, financial forecasting, sales and marketing. A solid plan can serve as a compass when you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed.
You should know that your initial plan won’t be perfect. That’s okay because you can always change the parts that aren’t working well. The most important thing to do when operating a business is get started and take consistent action.
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