If your business has hit £1 million in revenue and are wondering how to take it up a gear, it’s important to see reaching this milestone as an opportunity to improve your business, rather than an end in itself.
Many business owners given in to the temptation to take the foot off the peddle at the £1 million mark, feeling that at this point, the business should run itself. Don’t let yourself get complacent. Now more than ever, your business needs to be adaptable and ready to embrace new challenges. Maybe the biggest change of all is that you will need to work even harder. This might be a scary prospect, but would you have got this far if you were frightened of hard work?
Once you’ve reached £1 million and allowed yourself a nice glass of bubbly, these tips will help you sidestep the usual growing pains and stay on course to reach the next big milestone that you already have in your sights.
Re-evaluate Your Pricing Model
When you reach £1 million annual turnover, it’s safe to say that your product is in demand. You are clearly offering your customer something of value to them. Now is the perfect time to work out exactly how much you need to charge to allow you to maintain high standards as you invest in further growth and sustainability. But make sure you aren’t simply hiking your prices up with no apparent logic to the change. Get creative with how you restructure your prices. For example, you could launch initiatives such as encouraging membership to an exclusive club or customer group or finding ways to reward or incentivise repeat purchases. Take your new pricing structure for a test run in order to assess the response of your customer base. You may need to go back to the drawing board, but you may also see that a little fine-tuning is all that’s necessary to nail the ideal pricing structure.
The “how we got to where we are today” narratives of so many global giants in the business world go something like this: one ambitious go-getter sets up shop in their garage, running every part of the business themselves, from bookkeeping to product design to customer service. As demand grows, they notice that their precious time is being sucked up by menial jobs like ordering supplies, so they hire an assistant. So the story goes until the ambitious go-getter has hired enough people that they can reserve their time for creative and growth-oriented work, which is what the business needs to grow. When you make that first million in revenue, it may be high time you asked yourself whether your time is being spent profitably for your business. As the CEO or founder of the business, your primary role is providing leadership. (For example, you wouldn’t catch the likes of Jos Opdeweegh fussing with HR or IT issues. He’s too busy being a CEO.)
The only way to delegate effectively is to hire the best talent out there. Invest all the resources you can in recruiting, training, and maintaining capable and passionate people who can demonstrate that they get your vision and share your energy. Once you have a crack team on board, it’s essential that you resist the temptation to micromanage them. Handing over responsibility to others may be daunting initially, but unless you let your staff do their jobs, your head won’t be clear enough to focus on the work you need to do. A useful question to put to yourself is: could the business run effectively without me in the office? If the answer is yes, you’ve delegated effectively.
Invest in Brand Recognition
Brand recognition and the credibility of your brand are key factors that determine whether your business is able to capitalise on your growth and become a leader in your industry, or a household name. To improve public trust in your brand, you need to focus on three key areas: Customer Service, Product, and Marketing. Developments in technology, including AI for business, open new avenues for improvements in these areas, but a lot of it will come down to going back to basics. It’s about getting the fundamentals exactly right. Remember the importance of word of mouth. Offer your customers the best customer service in town, and you’ll get a heap of free advertising. In the early days of your business, it’s understandable that your focus was on achieving growth metrics, but now is an ideal time to invest in product development and making sure your product can’t be improved on. If your marketing is done by an in-house team, you may need to push the boat out a little and find a top marketing pro who gets your vision and can help you fine-tune your marketing output. A more cohesive brand identity will help you to capitalise on recent growth and ensure that your branding speaks to the global company you hope to be one day, rather than the small and feisty company you have been to date. Now is the time to overcome imposter syndrome and rebrand with confidence.
Having a capable team that can handle rapid increases in demand without cracks beginning to show is the dream. But if your business is growing rapidly, your recruitment may not be able to keep up. Whether this is because of lack of funding or time to invest in training, you may not be able to snap your fingers and have the team you need to take your business further. That’s where outsourcing comes in. Whether it’s IT, HR or Payroll, outsourcing some of the most draining tasks in your business can be a great way to give your current team some breathing room and let them focus on core work.
Hitting the £1 million revenue milestone is a massive achievement, but it also comes with a host of new challenges. If you don’t embrace change and take steps to stabilise your business, you could risk crumbling under the demand. These tips will help you keep your business steady and keep growing at a sustainable rate.