Over the last four years boxChilli has blossomed, expanding to 14 permanent members of staff in two locations. It’s been an amazing journey, but it hasn’t always been easy. Many small businesses stumble when they start to grow and in all too many cases success turns into failure as they fail to adapt to their new bulk. As a leading Portsmouth marketing agency, we work with businesses of all sizes and so we know that growing pains are totally normal and are ready to offer our marketing and web design expertise to ease the transition from small to medium sized business.
Scaling up production
As your company grows, you should really be offered a couple extra hours in the day to deal with all the new tasks. Even if you’ve invented an amazing widget and found a factory to make it, you’ll still be dealing with more orders, more customer queries, more logistics, sales and marketing. If you’re selling a service (such as hair dressing, plumbing or web design) you’ll quickly find that the number of hours in the day limits your ability to grow. You can outsource some services (ask us about our social media campaigns!) but eventually you might have to hire a pair of helping hands.
Hiring your first employee
The shift from sole trader to limited company is nothing compared to hiring your first employee. Suddenly you’re responsible for bringing in enough income to not only keep your family afloat but someone else’s too. Look for someone who is excited to help your business grow, and think about what you can offer beyond a salary. For example, can your employee work from home or do school hours? As many areas have childcare droughts there are thousands of highly skilled parents looking for interesting jobs that fit around the kids.
Finding space to grow
Whether you’re repairing cars or writing CSS, you need somewhere to work, to store your tools and stock, to meet clients. As your company grows, working out of the back of your van or in coffee shops becomes less sustainable. Finding office space can be tricky – as our web design and marketing agency has grown, we’ve been hunting for the perfect Portsmouth location and we’ve now opened a second office in central London. A workspace that doesn’t break your budget but gives you room to expand is key.
Cash ebbs and flows
As you take on bigger projects, the day the final payment lands in your business account can get further away. At the same time, your growing team need to be paid every month, as does the rent and office bills. While some businesses can build up a cash reserve to tide them through low spots, for most it’s well worth establishing a line of credit and developing a sympathetic relationship with your bank manager before you hit the red. Even multinationals have months where they record a loss before shooting back into the black.
Breaking into management
Most companies are founded on passion by individuals who love the nitty gritty of their work. It can come as a shock to a technical expert to find that the reward for being great at your job is…a completely different job. As your company grows, someone has to step up and deal with hiring and employee gripes, pension companies and the tax office, budgeting and projections, and generally keep projects on track and smooth the way ahead for their staff.
Changing as you grow
We didn’t start out animating videos, managing Facebook events and dealing with Twitter storms. Heck, when Anders founded boxChilli back in 2003, MySpace was just being launched. In more than a decade, the web has changed beyond recognition and boxChilli has changed too. Following trends and seismic shifts in development and marketing, we’ve evolved into a creative web and marketing agency and a renewed focus on delivering successful websites. With over 800 sites in our portfolio, we’ve come a long way – and we’ve got a lot to look forward to!