In the current financial climate, almost everyone is on the lookout for a side hustle to top up the bills or save up for something that might improve their life. They might typically just have a short-term plan, but if they are successful, they will need to start thinking seriously about what happens next. If this is you, and you are not sure where to go from here – nobody would blame you if you just kept things as they are.
The number of changes you’ll need to make to your business to take it to the next level might seem mind-boggling, and you probably don’t even know where to start. After all, you started your side gig to earn a little extra cash, and your formal business training is likely to be next to non-existent. Of course, you could look online, but there is almost too much information out there. Almost all of it promises to be the only solution you’ll ever need, and most of them will come with a price tag attached.
However, rather than sit there confused, you could take some time to check out the basics and see what you need to do to make your business bigger. You can then make an informed decision about whether you want to make more of what you have, and maybe replace your 9-5 job – or simply carry on as you are, content with the extra cash it brings you.
What you need to consider
The areas of your business that you need to look at include:
- Supply and distribution
- Online presence
These will be consistent, pretty much regardless of what type of business you happen to have. You might sell physical or virtual products or provide a service like content writing or digital graphics, but the one thing they will all have in common is that expansion will take money.
#1 Look at your finances
This goes a little beyond just keeping a note of things on an Excel spreadsheet for your tax returns, so you need to look at this first. If you are considering expanding to new premises (more on that next) you are likely to need to source some outside financing.
Writing a business plan
If you have never done this before, you will need some guidance – but in basic terms, you need to work out all of your costs for expansion. This will include moving to your new location, getting everything set up, and possibly the outlay for any extra stock or equipment you will need. You also need to note the projected extra revenue you are going to bring in, even if it is pretty much an extrapolation of what you are turning over now. You should also work out at what point you are going to break even on this, and where you see your business in the longer term.
It might be worth getting professional help at this stage, as a well put together business plan – this can unlock better deals on finance that you might not otherwise have benefitted from.
Getting a virtual accountant
With all of this extra income, and the effort it will take to generate it, you are almost certainly going to need to hire an accountant. You don’t have to keep local, as you can find virtual accountants all over the world – so you simply hire the one that is the best fit for you. You might be worried about the expense, but according to Mike Savage of New Canaan “If updating your books requires stopping everything else to troubleshoot every time, then you’re not helping your efficiency or your bottom line”. As the founder of more than one business himself, he probably knows what he is talking about, and leaving something as crucial as your accounts to the professionals allows you to concentrate on running your business.
#2 Moving premises
The chances are as your business is getting bigger, you will need more space. If you are an eCommerce concern, then the reason for this is obvious. You will need more space to store stock and prepare it for shipment. However, if you offer a service, you might need somewhere to store extra equipment that you will need. Even writers might opt to have a home office in the garden, or a graphic designer might need dedicated office space away from all distractions to boost their output.
Regardless of the reason, you will need to be fully aware of your rights when renting premises and bear certain things in mind:
If you live in a high-rent area, then opting for somewhere out of town might be more cost-effective. You will also need to take into account the cost of gas to get there, and the time spent on your commute.
If things progress the way they are, you will need to explore your options for further expansion. You might even opt for somewhere that is slightly too big to start with, but you will need to be aware of the extra cost.
Some units will come ready-equipped, and others you will need to fit out yourself. In this situation, you will need to work out if you can work with what somebody else has designed or pay out more and have exactly what you want.