It’s true – our Matt has volunteered to be a brave soldier and embark on his own from our base in Bishop Auckland to set our Stuart Hall & Co flag in position at the Surtees Business Centre in Bowesfield Lane. Nobody carried him over the threshold, but he’s happy as anything over there. It’s his home town – familiar stomping ground for the local lad!
It’s exciting for us to get more actively involved with SMEs in Teesside. Statistics show that more businesspeople are setting up small to medium-sized businesses now than ever. While that’s great news for our local economy and activity, the risks of starting up a new enterprise are the same as they’ve always been for entrepreneurs. Our role has always been more than that of your average accountants’: we have the financial and business background to draw alongside our clients and to really help in the early stages and beyond.
It was the right time for us to set up our new office in Teesside. We knew that as we’ve made careful, moderated business decisions over the years and have waited for the conditions to be just right.
For many SMEs, though, the temptation to grow too fast is strong. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can lead to disaster.
How do you know if your business is growing too fast? Here are SIX things that you should watch out for:
- YOU’RE FEELING STRESSED
It’s usually the first sign that things are becoming a little uncontrolled. Do you wake up with the same tangled-up knot in your stomach you had before you quit your lousy fulltime job? Pay attention to your own feelings!
- OUR TEAM IS UNHAPPY
Is your staff burning the midnight oil too often? Who’s calling in sick every other week? These are clear signs that the business is pulling too hard on the reins … this sort of thing will result sooner or later in a decrease in productivity.
- YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE CONCERNS
If your business is getting more complaints than usual, it’s time to take stock. Are you cutting corners anywhere that are effecting your performance? Is it possible that your best intentions of ‘keeping the customer happy’ have slipped to second position on your priority list?
- YOUR EXPENSES ARE HIGHER THAN YOUR REVENUE
This is probably where the knot in your stomach is coming from. Are you borrowing money to pay for things your business needs? Scale back until your profit margins and cash levels have stabilised. Don’t get sucked into making big investments before your business is ready for them. Reduce your inventory levels wherever possible, and look into leasing what you need rather than buying outright, too.
- YOUR SUPPLIERS CAN’T KEEP UP
If you suddenly triple your orders from your existing suppliers, don’t be surprised if they can’t deliver. Wean them into it gradually, or add to your list of suppliers ahead of time and save yourself a crisis. Remember to ask for better payment terms, too.
- YOUR BUSINESS OUTGROWS ITS OWN INFRASTRUCTURE
Remember what it was like getting up for school on the first day of the new term after the long summer holidays and finding you’d outgrown your uniform? Most uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. If the processes and hardware you’ve been using seem suddenly inept and clunky, your business has outgrown its infrastructure. Time to get a new one – before term starts.
It’s easy to get carried away in the first few of years of trading. We see it all the time with businesses and help them navigate that obstacle course, seeing them through to fruitful times. Pop into see us (well, Matt, specifically) at our lovely new office in Teesside and we’ll show you how we can help.