Tips From an Entrepreneur: How to Scale a Small Business

small business

No matter what you’re venturing into, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when starting your own business. Between getting the funds together, having a strong team ready to go and figuring out a solid marketing strategy, the checklist never seems to end. 

Affton Coffelt, a seasoned entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Broken Top Brands, is one of many proving that it can be done. Her startup, a leading wellness and home decor brand, has successfully competed with industry giants, thanks to her strategic insights and innovative approach. 

To help other small businesses succeed, Coffelt is sharing five invaluable tips for scaling your small business:

1. Hire Slow and Fast

This is one of the most essential rules and will likely fail most entrepreneurs. I have learned to listen to my gut. If it is a problematic transaction up front, you and the employee will likely not have a lasting relationship. On the backend, if you find yourself defending an employee to your VP (CFO, COO or other), then this employee likely is not pulling their weight or just may not be fit for the role, and it could be the time to part ways.

2. Find a Support System

Affton Coffelt.

The best type of people to understand an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. We are a different breed of superhumans that run at Mach 1 million and hold so much in our brains at once that we may implode multiple times a day. Talking to my peers has helped me not only with the growth of the business but also with my personal life and mental stability. I have utilized peer-to-peer mentor groups over the past four years, including product-focused groups, CEO mixed groups and national groups like Vistage.

3. Form Relationships

Whether it is a consultant, a rep, a customer, a buyer or a neighbor, you never know who you will meet and what they can do to help with the next stage of your business. I spend a lot of time networking locally at business events, and I have opened up contacts for crucial things such as banking, funding, insurance and legal counsel, to name a few. 

Trade shows are another great way to form bonds. I also network at industry events that might be happening simultaneously. This is a great way to meet industry leaders spearheading change, trends and connections.

4. Ensure You Have an Excellent Financial Team

This is crucial during the growth stage as cash flow is tight, profits might go up and more extensive exposure to taxes owed could arise. Working to cut costs in raw products could help offset some of the margin hits you will take negotiating with larger retail chains.

Keeping your books up to date will allow easier access to funding opportunities, investments or loans you might need to get your business to the next level. CFOs early on can be expensive, so looking for a fractional CFO or starting with a controller could be the initial steps. Your CPA can help you with projections and ways to save.

5. Make Time For Your Health

Growth is stressful and wreaks havoc on the body. Take time to break away and focus on your health. For me, this is working out at home either early in the morning or at night when I get home (or whenever this single mom of three can fit it in). 

Trade show life can also ruin your diet. Late nights, early mornings, customer or rep dinners with wine flowing and healthy eating habits are hard for most entrepreneurs. My tip is always to pack high-protein, healthy snacks, like protein bars, trail mix and beef sticks to keep your fuel up!