By: Christiane Soto, SMB Marketing, Oracle
Oracle recently partnered with Inc. Magazine to find out what keeps today’s small and medium business (SMB) leaders up at night. The results, in some ways, were not surprising. Selling more, finding the right people, and effectively managing their companies’ growth were the three key points keeping these men and women up at night.
In many ways, starting a business is the easy part. Successfully expanding through all the different lifecycle stages is the hard part. Over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years, and two-thirds of all businesses fail within 10 years. There are several reasons for this (nerve-wracking) fact:
- Costs skyrocket, and cash flow becomes a secondary concern after profits and EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization)
- Sales sink after SMB founders’ work through their own network of friends and business acquaintances
- It becomes obvious that LOB leaders who were with the company at the start may not (in fact) be the best people for the job
- Innovation founders, and new products do not make it to market fast enough
But as you transition from start-up to established company, sustainable, stable growth has to be your priority. This means that you need to continue to find, land, and retain new customers, even though all the “low-hanging fruit” is gone.
Your costs are skyrocketing as you rapidly bring on new employees. In addition, you may realize that the people who were with you at the early stages of your business may not be the best choices for your current stage of growth.
Finally, the idea that started it all may have lost or outgrown its market, and you are struggling to get new product upgrades or services out to market quickly.
Solutions for Your Expansion Challenges
- Get a handle on your cash. In many ways, cash is king. Many businesses fail because they cannot pay their bills, not because they lack stated profits on their financial documents. Financial statements don’t pay vendors; cash does.
- Continue to boost sales. Don’t let your sales process be the major inhibitor to your growth. A recent survey found that 28 percent of SMBs still use spreadsheets to record sales quotes, budgets, and customer data. Getting the right CRM software in place allows sales teams to do more with less and grow sales exponentially. You can push sales through the pipeline quicker. You can also create repeatable and uniform processes―with the most up-to-date customer information―that can do wonders for profits and revenues. When integrated with talent management cloud solutions, the right CRM software can also help SMBs build scalable processes to recruit, hire, and train the right sales talent.
- Get the right management team in place. Understand when you should bring on certain people. For example, is there enough work to justify a full-time hire? Should you hire a CFO or should you use an outsourced CFO or some other form of financial consulting service?
- Become skilled at attracting, recruiting, and retaining passive candidates. Focus on retaining your “A” players early in their career, and devise succession plans to ensure that you are able to keep those key employees engaged and your SMB equipped with the talent it needs to grow.
- Get upgrades and add-on services out into the market as quickly as possible. Time-to-market is everything. Your great idea is being noticed, and other companies are already at work looking to erode your market share. However, this does not mean that you need to only focus on the next new version. Look behind the scenes. Do you have the technology to allow your business to work efficiently and collaboratively? Are there workflows set up or are you asking employees to work with clunky, disconnected systems that make their jobs difficult and laborious?
Owning a business has always be a part of the American dream, and Oracle is here to help the right cloud solutions to help you alleviate all your expansion concerns and get the Zzzz’s you need at night. For more information on how Oracle can help you GO and grow, visit our website at go.oracle.com/smb.