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Starting a business demands hard work and perseverance. It means long hours and complete faith in what you are trying to achieve. So what happens when you grow astronomically? Your business is booming, your clients are plentiful and you have more work than you have time. Now what? Often this is the moment that fills the intrepid entrepreneur with fear as they have to consider hiring more employees, building up internal platforms and relinquishing some control. Here are five of the biggest fears facing entrepreneurs as they set out to grow their business and some simple solutions to help overcome them.
This is probably the most common fear that hits the small business owner, especially in South Africa with high failure rates for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and complex bureaucracy. The best way to get over it is to embrace it. In South Africa there remains a myth that if you fail, you have not succeeded. In America failure is seen as another step on the road to success. You learn from it, you pick yourself up and you move on. Use the mistakes made to be even better next time.
Moving out of the home office and into a rental office is a scary shift in mentality. There are a lot of new factors to consider such as utility costs and location. Combat this fear by being prepared and making sure that the space is affordable. Make sure you have connectivity, that you remain local to your clients and that you fit the size of the offices to your current growth trajectory.
As your business grows so does your need for more employees. This can be a terrifying prospect, especially if a new hire turns out to be someone you really need to fire. Defeat the dread by taking on the advice of an HR practitioner – there are always freelance advisors who can assist in the short term – and don't rush the process. You may be battling with the workload, but you want to hire someone who will be a long-term asset to the business.
The quality of your service or product can be affected by rapid growth. You are not able to spend as much time with each client, your resources are stretched and you lie awake wondering if new clients will remain loyal. Implement quality controls to ensure clients receive the best possible care and adjust their expectations on deadlines where possible. If they need to wait a bit longer for a premium product, then tell them and be realistic about deliverables.
When the business blows up and you can't do every last thing, you relinquish control. Now the new hires are handling X and Y and you are doing client liaison or development instead. Stay on top of the business by having regular status updates, remain involved with the various departments and listen to your employees. It doesn't need to be terrifying, it can be liberating as you go out and find new opportunities for your burgeoning business.
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UMEME Ltd, Uganda
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