The following is a guest post by Jessica Thiefels. Nearly 70 percent of entrepreneurs find it difficult to scale their businesses, according to research from Techstars. They have the ambition to grow, but often lack the strategy to make it happen. That’s why it’s not just enough to focus on where your business is now, but where you want to be in the future—and more importantly, how you’ll get there. While each phase of development, from planning to goal-setting, can feel daunting, now is the time to prepare for how your business will grow, both this year and in the years to follow. When you know where you want to go, you can prepare for what you’ll need as you build, like the right team, an optimized online presence, or necessary insurance. Here are a few ways to prepare for your business to scale and grow in 2019. Find the Right People (Or Adjust Your Team) If you’ve already recruited and hired talented workers, you’ve taken the first step. As you plan to grow, however, it’s critical that these employees being used to the fullest capacity. In fact, one of the most common errors that business owners make is to place a high performer in a job that does not motivate, challenge, stretch or incentivize them, warns Dr. John Sullivan, a global human resources expert. If you fail to allow these employees to play to their strengths, both of you lose. The business can’t grow as fast and your employees are less engaged and excited. Consider how you can re-work your team to allow everyone to do their best work and provide the most value. If you haven’t hired yet, this is a great place to start planning. Ask yourself: Which positions require which skills? How can I best fill that position? Don’t forget to consider contract and freelance employees if you’re not ready to hire full-time. Build it into your plan: Put hiring or restructuring on your growth timeline and start planning. This may require some high-level business brainstorming, along with the time needed to create a budget, interview potential candidates, and onboard as you hire. Plan for Commercial Growth If scaling from selling homes to buying and renting commercial space is part of your growth plan, you need to get some logistical details worked out, starting with commercial liability insurance. The protection you get can be broken down into three distinct tiers, according to this commercial building insurance guide:
Premises Liability: This insures you from being responsible for medical bills if a customer or visitor is hurt on the property. It also protects you from having to finance the repairs if structural damage occurs.
Products Liability: This helps you afford a legal defense and handles the monetary damages, settlements or rewards if you’re sued for any of the products sold or advertisements run in the building.
Completed Operations: This also helps you afford a legal defense and handles monetary damages, settlements or rewards if a person who claims they were harmed after being rendered services from your business sues you. Don’t forget to consider the fluctuating rent prices in your local area and nearby regions. You likely have a good handle on rent prices in your immediate area, but location-specific resources, like this rent report for Athens, Georgia, allows you identify upward trends in rent prices nationwide, indicating a great long-term business opportunity. Build it into your plan: Create a list of must-haves, along with an itemized list of what you need to make it happen, like insurance. As you embark on this area of business growth, you’ll know what you need and can take the right steps to get there. Find a Partner If you’re struggling to get your business where you want it to go, now may the time to bring on a business partner. A business partner can serve as a valuable resource for ideation and growth, especially as you take on more real estate clients and need more people to help maintain that flow. While valuable, it’s important to remember that partnerships will still come with challenges. Micah Fraim, CPA and best-selling author, explains, “Even people with successful partnerships will admit that there are not only benefits but challenges in the arrangement. There will be differences of opinion on specific items, contrasting working styles, different overall mindsets … but with the right combination of people, if you can overcome the struggles the end result can be tremendous.” This is why planning is crucial for this step in your business growth. Start thinking about what a great partner can do for you—and what that partnership looks like. Build it into your plan: Determine what skills, personality traits and values your partner must bring to the table—this should be a non-negotiable list to ensure you choose the best person to help you grow. You may not be ready to bring on a partner just yet, but if the right opportunity presents itself, having planned ahead will allow you to say “yes” or “no” without hesitation. Optimize Your Website for Mobile As a realtor, you need to be ready for mobile traffic. According to a National Association of Realtor’s 2017 study, 72 percent home searches were done via a mobile site or app. If you think the only mobile searchers are Millennials, think again. While 58 percent of Millennials used mobile, 46 percent of Gen X and 33 percent of Younger Boomers did as well. This shift toward mobile consumption means that now is the time for you to optimize your website for these devices if you plan to grow. If the format or design of your website doesn’t load correctly or quickly on a mobile browser, you’re nearly guaranteed way to lose visitors. According to Google: As mobile page load time goes from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability that person will leave your page is 90 percent. When it gets to 6 seconds, probability jumps to 106 percent. Build it into your plan: If you don’t know how to increase your page speed or optimize your website images and design for mobile, add the costs of working with a developer to your budget now. You can work with a contractor who can do the work quickly and easily for you. Keep a specific budget in mind to find someone within your price range and avoid cash flow issues as you grow. Prepare for Growth in 2019 If you’re motivated by the prospect of growth, the time to plan for success and scalability is now. Get everything in order to make this a year you’ll remember forever—the one where you took the next step toward growth and it paid off in spades. Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn. Síguenos en Facebook Instagram YouTube COLDWELL BANKER MÉXICO