Time to Level Up Your Business: 9 Cues to Give You the Push You Need

By Erin Ollila, Contributor, on August 23, 2017

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How do you know when it’s time to level up your business? Is it when you need more hands to help you get work done? Maybe it’s the physical space that’s holding you back from your potential. Small businesses often stagnate instead of taking risks to grow. Here are nine obvious cues that you’re ready to build up your business; if you’re basically checking off boxes, you know what it’s time for.

1. Your Customers Want More

Do your clients keep asking for more from you? If you answered “yes,” consider it time to build up your business. This cue doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a gaggle of employees from the get-go. However, it might be time to sit down and examine your workflow to determine the assignments you could delegate to others to increase your own productivity in other areas. And, since your clients are currently happy, make sure your customer service remains at an all time high.

2. The Prospects Are Banging Down Your Door

A business with a strong lead base procured through very little effort should be open to growth. Obtaining new leads is often a struggle for business owners, so if your clients come to you naturally — by word of mouth, smart website SEO or a strong social presence — take advantage of the interest and set up a process to close more deals. This could mean hiring a part-time sales consultant, or finding an assistant with a similar skill set to your own.

3. Your Need for Space Is Growing

If you’re creating, building or simply have a surplus of a product, your business may plateau if you stay in the same physical space. Working out of your basement might’ve been fine when you were freelancing on the side, but now that you’ve transitioned into an indy boss, your lack of space is limiting. Take a chance and level up your business by renting a larger space to build or sell your products.

4. You Have All the Tools You Need

Launching a business is expensive; if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to buy the tools to get the job done. Videographers require cameras, lights and mics; landscapers need mowers, shears and shovels. Once you have all of these things, you’ll have fewer expenses, and you’ll be completely prepared to take on new jobs. Use that momentum to grow your business so you can bank some of that income before you need to update aging equipment.

5. Sales and Profits Are Consistent

I recently had a conversation with a peer about her fear to grow her business because of a straight line trajectory in her sales and profits. So, I asked her if she was currently outsourcing, or if she had hired any staff. The answer was a big, fat “no.” She ran her business single-handedly, yet almost never saw a dip in profits. Her books made it easy to gauge her future profits. Sometimes, you level out instead of leveling up. By taking on employees, you can produce your services faster and grow your customer base.

Why am I telling you this story? Because, without any additional help, she’d never have the growth she was desperate to see in her books. Here’s the good news: She very recently hired an employee and, even though her expenses are higher, the profits are already growing.

6. You’re Confident You Can Manage a Team

If you grow your business, you’re going to need employees. Are you ready to take on the role of manager? If you know what you’d parcel out to employees, and you can make time in your schedule for day-to-day management, it’s time to onboard some staff members. If you’re nervous about being the boss, remember that there’s training you can take to learn some valuable management skills.

7. Your Current Small Staff Needs Help

So, maybe you hired a virtual assistant when you first started getting busy, and then a part-time in-person assistant who’s been helping you run the show. Is it time to bring on a full staff? Ask your employees. If they constantly feel overwhelmed with work, it’s important to respect that and bring on some new members to your team.

8. You Need to Move Online and In-Person

Have you always owned a brick-and-mortar business, but think it’s time to move online? Or, maybe you already have a digital business, and it’s time to put down some local roots. Here’s the good news: Your business doesn’t need to exist in only one world. It can be in both. When you’re ready to level up your business, think about the possibility of existing in both spaces.

9. You’re So Close to Not Getting Things Done

We all know that entrepreneurship isn’t a 40-hour-per-week job. It’s a lifestyle. That being said, you shouldn’t be working from sun up to sun down without a moment of rest. If you feel like you’re always rushing to meet a deadline and you constantly worry you won’t be able to get everything done, consider expansion — if anything, to save your mental health. If you burn out as a solopreneur, who will save you? You’ll lose clients, referrals and income.

At the end of the day, leveling up will help you maintain your sanity, but only you can decide when you’re ready. These cues will give you a push to take that leap, but you have to jump.

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