How to grow your small businesses
Hannah Martin, co-founder of Talented Ladies Club, gives us her top tips for growing a small business
3 years ago, Hannah Martin and her business partner Kary Fisher launched the Talented Ladies Club, an online magazine that aims to inspire and empower ambitious women that have children.
Since then, Hannah and Kary have grown the magazine's following from zero to 60,000 readers, and learnt a lot about growing successful businesses organically along the way.
Here, Hannah talks to Direct Line for Business about what she's learned, and gives us her top tips for growing a business.
Have a clear business vision
When you have a clear idea of where you want your business to go, you will know if you're on track. So it's important to make sure you have a clear idea of where you want your business to go over the next 3, 5 or even 10 years, before you start up.
This vision needs to incorporate a number of factors such as how you want your business to grow financially and the markets that you'd like to target or expand into. But you also need to establish how you plan to fit your business into your life as it develops.
Growing a business that depletes your energy and time isn't sustainable in the long term, so you need to make sure that your business development plans are aligned to any other commitments that you have.
Give your business space to grow
If you want your business to grow, you need to give it the space to grow into. Which means that you have to invest in your business.
Early on, I realised that doing live online webinars and classes could help Talented Ladies Club to grow, but I didn't want to invest in the right technology to do it properly. So I tried to do it cheaply. This meant that every single live thing that we did had a glitch in it, and as a result our business didn't really grow as I'd wanted it to.
But by investing, I gave my business the resources it needed to be able to grow, creating an incentive to repay the investment that I'd made at the same time.
So although it might seem daunting, especially when you've just started up, taking some time to ensure that you have the right tools for your business could help it to grow in the future.
Let go of the little things
When you start a business often it's just you and your partner so by necessity you have to do everything. From important business tasks such as managing your finances, to admin all the way through to the cleaning. When you first start up, everything will usually fall to you.
But doing everything tends to push more important tasks down your work priorities. Which means the bigger things like strategy that require a bit more brainpower and time are put off for the less important tasks that are quicker to do.
Although it's important to be on top of your admin and keep your office clean, focussing solely on this side of your work may mean that your business fails to grow.
So find ways to streamline what you do. Automate where you can and outsource if you need to. You should not be doing everything in your business if you want it to grow.
Get out of the way of your own business
What holds most businesses back is not lack of budget or opportunity but actually the entrepreneurs own personal fears and limitations. Without realising it, they can sabotage their own business by avoiding opportunities or making decisions that keep them safe.
Recognise where potentially you are holding your business back by not allowing it to grow because of fears you have.
So make sure to some perspective on your work. Otherwise, you may find yourself making mistakes, overlooking key issues or turning down valuable opportunities for your business.
Sometimes just taking a walk can often be all your need to gather your thoughts. So take some time each week to get out of the office.