The chances are, at one point or another, you’ve probably thought about starting your own business. It could be the draw of working flexible hours, being in charge, a ceiling-less pay scale that’s directly dependent on your hard work and success, or something else entirely. But, of all those that consider it, only a select few make the jump and actually see it through. It can be a daunting prospect; managing accounts, marketing your product or service, the fear of failure and many other risk factors all come in to contention. And, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve launched your business, you need to grow it. This is perhaps the hardest task. According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the five main barriers to growth are domestic market conditions, recruitment and skills, global trade environment, availability of funding and regulatory requirements. In order to grow your business you need to identify the key performance indicators. For many, particularly new startups these will be turnover and profit. However, the world’s fastest growing small businesses focus on increased productivity or expansion in to other markets across the globe as signs that they’re growing. So, how do you go about scaling your business? There are some key points every business, regardless of size or industry can follow: Determine a Vision Create a strong company culture amongst all employees that flows from the most senior staff member right down to juniors. This will help drive everyone to pull in the same direction and make it clear what is expected in terms of sales and targets. Use the Board Room! It might seem excessive but even SMEs can benefit from a board. They oversee the direction of the business in a more holistic way. Given they’re able to take a step back from the day-to-day business, they can look at difficulties and opportunities from a different perspective. They can also challenge executives and other senior employees on their decisions, where others can’t. Management There should be a management team that operates below the board and is more invested in the every day activity of the business. Ensure each member has a skill set that will add value by covering any potential problems that may arise. Finance It’s easy to see the finance department or outsourced accountancy as a completely separate part of the business, disconnected from everything else. This is a definite mistake. Whoever manages your finances should be integrated with the rest of the business and aware of the wider goals. They can be instrumental in developing a financial strategy or identifying funding opportunities. Outsourcing admin tasks such as payroll can free up their time. Go Hi-Tech Choosing the right technology is fundamentally important. In a small business where human resources are already stretched, automating processes and increasing efficiency is paramount. Technology can help do this. Apps such as Quick Books and Zero have significantly changed the way companies manage their accounting over recent years. Funding Despite misconceptions that funding isn’t for SMEs, research shows that small companies using funding available to them grow quicker than those who don’t.