Many ambitious businesses reach a pivotal moment where growth seems to reach a frustrating standstill due to a lack of capacity to do more each day.
The owner can see a future where the business is achieving more, serving more customers and employing more people, but in the short-term resources are overworked, and there perhaps isn’t sufficient funding to take on more people.
So, how can you create the capacity to do more in your business at these times?
- Critically assess how employees are spending their time
The first step is to look across your business and fully diagnose why you have a capacity issue. The best reason is due to increased demand from customers, but quite often, your existing workload has merely expanded to fill the available capacity.
Involve your teams in an exercise to establish what they need to stop, start and continue doing to create the additional capacity that your business needs. Help them to develop a mindset of questioning every task and avoid the phrase ‘because it’s how we’ve always done it’.
If you identify highly repetitive tasks that need to continue then consider automating them. For example, if you take payments over the phone, instead offer an eCommerce payment gateway that enables your customers to make secure online payments at their convenience.
This exercise alone may be sufficient to create the capacity you need to regain work-life balance in a business, to service more customers and to get some costs under control.
- Review your spending
If your capacity issue is predominately a financial one, then there is no escaping going through your budget and your spending line by line to understand why this is happening.
Costs can creep up over time, so it’s healthy to review spending periodically. Question every subscription, every fixed expense, every fee with suppliers to check you have a cost base that leaves sufficient profit in the business.
If you identify discrepancies, use this exercise to create new spend authorisation processes that will enable you to keep a tighter control on costs.
- Make sure you have the right people
If you have aggressive growth plans, then it’s essential to assess if the people in your business today have the right skills and capacity to help you to achieve this. Some may need extra training to get there; others may have reached the limit of what they can offer, especially if you can automate their role.
If you have the funds to hire, make sure your new employees can meet your needs today and that they have the capacity you need for the future.
Alternatively, you can use flexible resourcing options such as contractors and freelancers to bridge the gaps cost-effectively.
- Get yourself to peak performance
If you are a business owner or a leader within a business, your mindset and your performance can be a barrier to creating extra capacity.
Make sure that you master the basics of eating, sleeping and exercising well, while also working on your mindset. There are so many ways to get your mindset on track, including meditation, journaling, affirmations, and working with a coach. Find what works for you and build it into a consistent routine.
- Create leaders and delegate
For a business to grow consistently, it needs to be led by people with a growth mindset.
In the early stages, the business owner typically provides all of the necessary leadership, but over time as the business expands, it’s important to create leaders within the organisation. Without them, the owner’s capacity will limit the growth of the company.
- Consider a quick fix
If you have a temporary demand for higher production or increased opening hours, then you can consider merely offering your existing team overtime. Depending on their appetite for this, you could offer added financial or non-financial incentives based on what individual team members value.
Make sure that the amount you spend in overtime staff costs is more than covered by the additional sales revenue their efforts will create, so that this is a profitable exercise.
- Be open to partnerships
Another way to increase your revenue with existing internal resources is to look for partnerships with complementary businesses. Perhaps you have a loyal customer base who would benefit from some different types of products that you do not offer. You could promote another business’ products to your customers for an attractive cut of the profits.
Alternatively, you could find a partner who has a customer base that would be receptive to your products and services.
Before entering into this type of relationship, it’s important to gauge that your partner is ethical and shares the same values as you. Check the quality of any products that you promote to your customers to protect your reputation.
Make sure that you have a signed written agreement in place for any partnership opportunities.
- Think creatively about physical space
Your physical office space can be costly and a barrier to expanding your business. However, there are so many alternative options today. If you have employees who are self-motivated and who you can trust, you can explore working from home arrangements on a part-time or a full-time basis.
Clients often like to meet outside of office spaces; perhaps by video call, at a coffee shop or their premises. Working at a flexible location should not be a barrier to productivity and sales if you have the right technologies in place, for example, a mobile card machine for taking payments.
Also consider ways of expanding that do not need physical space; for example, you could offer information-based products online which require no storage space. Create a website and work with a payment solutions provider to secure an eCommerce payment gateway. With some marketing efforts, you may be able to enjoy making sales while you sleep!
- Select the right partners and subcontract
One of the most effective strategies for creating capacity in a high-quality and cost-effective way is to outsource aspects of your operations that require expertise that is not in line with your core business.
If we consider how you collect revenue, rather than reinventing the wheel by creating your own payments function, you can find a payment solutions provider that offers all the payment solutions you need across your business. This external partner will save you from the staff costs associated with fraud detection experts and developers.
Look for a provider that, alongside great payment solutions, has the backing of a credible bank and an excellent record for fraud prevention. For example, payments experts UTP Group work with a well-known bank that has excellent fraud protection mechanisms. On top of this, they offer a unique layer of additional daily checks to protect you and your customers, and same day funding.
Conclusion: the only limitations to growth are in your mind
There are so many ways to create more capacity in your business, from critically reviewing your current task list, to reviewing the budget, to hiring and delegating. The options are endless, and the only limitations tend to be mental blocks about what is possible.
All the methods for increasing capacity have their pros and cons, and the right solution for your business is likely to be a mixture of options that changes over time.