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Expanding your business without breaking the bank

nbThe goal of every business should be to expand its operations and increase revenues. Whether the business is that of an individual who is working from home or a multinational organisation, growth must be a part of the plan as otherwise the likely result is that the business will become complacent and stop growing. When this happens the business may be safe in the short-term but businesses that become set in their ways are rarely able to rapidly adjust to changes in the market, which can be fatal.

Expanding your small or home business is a real challenge, especially if you are working alone. The biggest constraint for any self-employed businessperson is time. There are only a finite number of hours in the day and often these are barely enough to provide the time to carry out all the essential tasks. For many entrepreneurs the prospect of expanding a business is simply out of the question because all of the time is spent on maintaining the current level of the business.

Time management

Although it is not possible to create more time it is possible to improve the use of your time. Through a combination of time management and following a continuous improvement strategy, inefficient processes can be eradicated and replaced with the sleek and efficient workflow that provides more time to develop new ideas and new business leads.

Time management requires you to take a careful look at how you use your time every day. By keeping a diary for a week, in which you note the time you start and stop each task, you can determine where you are using most of your time. Many people carrying out a time management assessment are also shocked to learn how much time they spend on unimportant tasks. Do not waste a single minute. You can adopt this strategy yourself without hiring a consultant.

A continuous improvement process allows a business, or individual, to analyse how the business is run on a micro level and then determine ways to speed up processes. Simple tasks that are dispersed throughout the day may result in a lot of wasted time. An example is order processing. If you process each order as it comes in you will always waste time in processing it through each stage. Setting up a production line where you process each part of an order in a group allows you to work faster and waste less time. This may mean that you only process orders once every day instead of ten times a day. The time saved will provide room for natural business growth and you will still be able to provide a quick turnaround for your customers.

Planning

You need to plan properly in order to achieve efficiency when expanding. Businesses are essentially made on paper and this paper needs to be well managed. A company secretary and accountant can turn a disorganised, loss making business into a successful enterprise. Some firms now provide virtual assistants who can perform many of the time consuming tasks at a very reasonable rate. This gives you more time to develop your business.

The same principles that apply to large businesses also apply to the smallest businesses. A leading Nigerian business leader explained in an interview how this rule could be applied in business today. In the interview with Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo, who was nominated as the best African entrepreneur in 2010, it was said that a determination to make the best company possible is the real reason for his success. That same determination can be applied to a single person who is running his or her own business.

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