By New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants
ROSELAND – Just because your small, home-based business started in your garage, doesn’t mean you have to stay in your garage. Think Apple. Think Amazon. Think Disney. OK, so maybe your goals aren’t quite that big – yet – but you’ve got a successful home-based business, and you’re ready to grow. What should you do first?
When you’ve been working alone for years, breaking out and expanding may seem overwhelming, say personal financial planning experts at the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA). It’s important to find the right way to grow your business. Careful planning and a strategy for growth will set you on your way. Here are some tips to get started.
Top Tips to Grow Your Home-Based Business
- Develop a plan. You want to take your business to the next level, but what does that mean to you? Whatever it is you want to accomplish – more sales, expanding to more locations, reaching more customers – set clear, specific goals. Those goals will then guide the actions you will take. Your goals should be consistent with your company’s mission and values.
- Start with baby steps. It’s tempting to race out of the starting blocks and try to be all things to all people when you’re ready to grow your business. However, a smarter strategy is to focus on one or two of your goals at a time and their related activities, so that you don’t spread yourself too thin or put yourself in a financially risky situation.
- Be financially savvy. Even if you’re not a numbers person, now is the time to raise your financial IQ. At this stage of your business, you need to know more than the basics of tracking expenditures, budgeting and payroll. Learn to read and understand your financial statements to help you plan and manage your growth. Don’t be afraid to call for backup support, sooner rather than later, to help align your goals and sound financial processes.
- Establishing strong professional relationships. As a small business, your banker, attorney, accountant and other professional representatives should be close strategic partners. Find a professional who specializes in working with and offering services to small businesses. Establishing a personal relationship gives you someone to call in an emergency. Make sure you have a backup contact for when your principal contact is unavailable.
- Hire helping hands. You’ll eventually need help, be it full-time, part-time, an independent contractor or even a student intern. This is when you can start delegating simpler, day-to-day tasks so that you can focus on running and growing the business. Need an assistant, but don’t have office space for one? Consider a virtual assistant to do everything from answering phones to producing a customer newsletter or any other tasks that are bogging you down.
- Dedicate time to working on the business. It’s easy and understandable for small business owners to get so wrapped up in the daily workings or the business that they lose sight of their role in the bigger picture, which is sustainable growth. Set aside time every day to work on the business versus working in the business.
- Be an expert networker. This is important, not only to spread the word about your growing business, but also to have a group of people you can go to for advice and “I’ve been there, too” support. Find a group of like-minded entrepreneurs in your area so you have someone with whom you can exchange ideas.
- Communicate. As you grow and add staff, it will be important to share the company’s mission, vision and goals so everyone is focused on achieving the same thing at the same time. Share your vision with your professional advisors and make it part of your message to the marketplace. Don’t try to handle all challenges yourself. If you’re facing difficult times, bring others into the loop so they can help and be a part of the problem-solving process. Focus on building a strong, trustworthy team to carry you forward.
- Know your tax requirements. As you grow your business, your tax obligations will change. Know what you need to pay and when you need to pay it. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a special section on its website to help you learn more. Consult a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to help you interpret this important information and how it applies to your business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has a wealth of information on its website for small business in every stage of growth. Whether you need help creating a business plan, obtaining a loan or grant or registering your business, the SBA has an abundance of resources available online.
A CPA Can Help
“Growing your small business is an exciting process,” says W. Hope Player, CPA at the Arcadian Group, LLC. “There are many different ways to achieve the growth you want, but if you break your goals and objectives into smaller, more manageable steps and work with a supportive team, you can take your small business wherever you want to go.”
Consult your local CPA about any concerns you may have. If you don’t have a CPA, you can easily locate one online using the NJSCPA’s free, online Find-A-CPA service. Just go to findacpa.org, and in a few clicks you can locate a highly qualified professional who can assist you.
To find more information on various personal financial matters, visit the NJSCPA’s public service website at MoneyMattersNJ.com. While visiting, you can subscribe to Your Money Matters, the NJSCPA’s free, monthly email newsletter to receive valuable personal financial planning advice throughout the year.
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