What Will Your Business Look Like When It’s Done?

24th August 2016

Confession time.

When I established Insight Associates, now nearly 25 years ago, I had a pretty clear idea of what it was going to look like today.

I knew approximately how many employees I was going to have. I knew what turnover we were going to reach. I knew what my role was going to be, over two decades later.
Incredibly prescient?

Some kind of prophet?

Sadly not.

The boring truth is that I had a very particular vision of what kind of business I was going to build.

And then I went ahead and built it.

Insight Associates looks the way it does today not by accident, but by design.

And that’s how you should build your business, too.

It all boils down to a question you need to be asking right from the start: “What will my business look like when it’s finished?”

In my last blog I talked about the three life-stages of a business: Infancy, adolescence and maturity.

You need to decide at the outset which of these stages your company will be at when it’s “done”.

Do you want to be a small firm with just five or six employees in one office, or do you want to grow into a much larger £10m company with 50 employees, several branches and an international presence?

As the CEO, do you want to be hands-on, or to sit back and take a more strategic view? Are you starting a business because you want a comfortable income, or are you looking to create an organisation which can go on without you?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you don’t already have those answers, you need to think about them – fast.

You see, that will allow you to lay the foundations accordingly.

It’s like building a shed. You start off by putting small concrete foundations in place – that’s fine - but it’s no good then trying to build a skyscraper on top of it.

If you want a lifestyle business, you’ll be able to get away with simple systems and infrastructure. If you aim to build a much larger company, you’ll need to put in the right processes, technology and people from an early stage.

When it comes to the financial side of things, a bigger company needs more effective financial management. This means thinking about who’s doing your accounting, what kind of information they’re giving you, how useful it is, how you handle your invoicing, how you ensure your cash flow is smooth and so on, very early on.

If you want to become a big company, start acting like one!

So what will your business look like when it’s finished?

If you’re aiming for a business that grows well beyond £1-£2 million, we can help you put in place the financial management you need to get there.

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