on 26-02-2018 09:10 PM
Looking for some advice or guidance from people who have gone from being a sole trader/ partnership to something 'bigger'.
In December 2015 my partner became self-employed, following a redundancy. He repairs and restores old VW vehicles, a hobby he had for some years. At first we were lucky to have a few customers, we moved to a new rented workshop in March 2016 and gained a few more customers but also had to spend some savings for equiment and tools. December 2016 was a major panic as we had nothing in the pipeline so we pushed on marketing and used more of the savings! I am sure this has been the way for many. However, just over 1 year on and we are booked up for over 18 months worth of work, which is a great position to be in. My questions is, how do we expand? We have enquired about bigger premises but there are only so many hours in the day my partner can work, I have stopped being a Mortgage Advisor and now also work with him to speak to custmers, do the ordering and general adminstration. How do businesses get bigger? We have no more savings to use and when changing premises we would need further equipment. How do people afford to employ? We feel like we are treading water so would find it difficult to pay someone a wage but if we had someone working for us we have so much work to get through the money would come in to cover their wage. Do people get a business overdraft/loan? We are now turning work away completely and I do not want to get the reputation we are too busy and I am also concern ( due to the nature of the projects) that we are running behide and I do not want to disapoint customer, although they are all aware and I do update them.
Please help...how do we grow are business??
Thank you all in advance for your advice and time.
on 27-02-2018 10:20 AM
Welcome to the community
Thank you for this great question, it's great to hear things are going so well. There are a few Pioneers here who have got to the scaling up and growth phase of business, and beyond who may be able to adivise. Where are you based?
on 27-02-2018 05:19 PM
Please do send me an email - Hello@TeeJayLyons.com and I'd be happy to have a chat and come up with some ideas!
27-02-2018 08:51 PM - edited 27-02-2018 08:52 PM
Thank you. We are based in a village called Bressingham which is just outside Diss on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
on 16-04-2018 07:31 PM
This is a great question.
In my experience a business like this has 2 choices: grow and get more customer or grow profitability with existing customers. It becomes a lifestyle decision. A bigger business will make all of your current problems bigger. As an example, if you have scheduling problems now they will be larger with a bigger business. If you are adequately profitable now you will be less profitable when you grow. If you want to grow make sure your business is as profitable as it can be now which may result in increasing prices or turning away certain customers however if you can do it then growth becomes much easier to manage. On the other side if you decide to not grow and maximize your income where your business currently is then you simply need to decide how much money you want to make each year and work backwards to determine what changes you may need to make in your current business.
Bottom line: make sure growing a business is what you actually want
on 16-04-2018 08:41 PM
The logical answer would be to hire someone into the business that will free your time up to focus on the things that generate the revenue.
The worry, of course, is that you are probably at that point where to do so may adversely affect the bottom line.
The best thing to do is to calculate how much business you are turning away or losing against the cost of getting on board an extra pair of hands.
You could hire an apprentice to do some of the mundane tasks such as basic admin, answering the phones managing the bookkeeping, etc.
These tasks can usually be taken care of rather efficiently by an apprentice, giving you time to focus on growing your business, developing marketing plans and improving your product or service.
If you’re on the fence about hiring even an apprentice, take a look at the roles you want to hire and see if that work can be outsourced.
The advantage for you is you don’t have to pay an employee directly nor do you have to pay the tax and pension levies associated with a new hire.
Instead, you pay a third party such as ‘People Per Hour’ to handle those tasks for you.
An added bonus is if you have peaks and troughs in your business, then you can hire someone for a specific project or a set period of time instead of having to pay someone for 40 hours per week when the work eases up.
Hope you find this of some benefit.
P.S. Just to say everyone in business at one time or another (even Sir Richard Branson) has been where you are today. With the clients I help to set up in business, I call it ‘growing pains’ which for new business start up its par for the course.
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