By Emily Suess
It’s a little ironic that small business owners spend so much time focusing on how to grow, isn’t it? The truth is that there are several benefits to keeping a business from growing too quickly. It gives you the opportunity to consolidate positions and save money on wages, minimize the amount of money you spend on overhead, and manage the business on your own terms.
With those benefits in mind, there are several ways you can manage the growth of your company and keep your small business small.
1. Offer Fewer Products and Services
One way to scale back is to limit the number of products and services your business offers. Through consolidation you can simplify your business. The approach you take would depend on your industry. Perhaps your business would benefit from offering fewer products, which would give your customer support team an opportunity to provide more specialized assistance to clients. Or, you might find that specialization leads to fewer clients who bring in more revenue.
2. Outsource Jobs that are Outside Your Area of Expertise
This might come as an epiphany to some of you very industrious small business owners, but you don’t have to do it all. If you’re worried about growing so large that you actually lose your small business status, outsourcing is a viable option. Support other small business in the process by contracting work to Internet marketers, accountants, designers, and others. That way you get professional results without expanding your business’s workforce.
3. Reduce Your Business Hours
Retail businesses can effectively downsize their stores by cutting back how many days or hours they are open each week. If Monday isn’t particularly productive or profitable, why stay open? Or try closing Sunday and Monday. And if your mornings or slow, you might find that it’s more profitable and less strain for personnel to open at 10:00 a.m. instead of 9:00 a.m.
4. Turn Away Some of Your Clients
I know it’s hard and it goes against all the advice you received when you first started out, but there may come a point when you actually need to turn away clients. If you feel like you’re stretched too thin, it’s time to say no. Don’t worry though; you can still be helpful to the clients you turn away by offering referrals when business is booming. These clients and your referrals will remember you down the road.
5. Reduce Staff
This can be really hard for small business owners whose staff has become like family, but it is sometimes necessary. If downsizing means laying off employees, make sure you do it with compassion. Being honest about your reasons for laying off employees is important, and you could do things to help them land on their feet like writing a letter of recommendation or serving as a positive reference.
Unfettered growth has been the demise of many small businesses. It’s important to remember that in the end, downsizing can actually make your small business more competitive and more profitable.