What are your biggest challenges as a growth-stage entrepreneur? Or if you are just getting started with your business, how can you build a foundation now for high growth when the venture is ready? Maybe your small business had been growing as projected but now it has stagnated. What can you do now?
We can help.
In researching ideas for this new blog, GrowBiz, we interviewed consultants of the Florida Small Business Development Center at FIU and some of their client companies, with permission, to shed some light on these questions.
“No one has enough time and no one has enough money, let’s get those two things out of the way,” says Shelly Bernal, Florida SBDC at FIU consultant specializing in import/export, export marketing and international logistics. The SBDC at FIU, a small business development center located within the FIU College of Business, works one-on-one with about 1,000 business owners and entrepreneurs each year.
Indeed, nearly all of the experts interviewed named some variation of limited capital to grow as a big challenge, and we will be all over that topic. In coming weeks we’ll be exploring getting venture ready, bankability and alternative financing, among other topics.
“It all comes down to the right product, the right attitude and the right partnership,” says Ricardo Weisz, an SBDC at FIU consultant specializing in investor funding and scaling. “You really want to have your investors as your allies.”
And we will go beyond that topic too.
Cash-flow strategies, exporting, government contracting, human resource issues, leadership and company culture — we will cover all that and more. Much of this blog will address strategy.
Ray Juncosa, a specialist in financial management, lending and access to capital, works with many business owners that get too bogged down in the day to day: “Give yourself time to think strategically.”
Bernal adds, “There is an opportunity cost to not thinking about the future.”
Ricardo Newark, who specializes in business growth, operations efficiency, financial performance and international operations, suggests regular reviews to ensure your growth plan is getting the expected results and, if not, you can take corrective actions. “In terms of skills, talent or in number of bodies, it is important to bring expertise to the planning and execution. Our consultants can help in that regard.”
Florida SBDC at FIU provides consultants, free of charge, to business owners for guidance in multiple aspects of running and growing a company.
Newark also says flexibility is key – for yourself, your company and your product – as the market evolves at an accelerating pace. To keep up, he says, “you have to be constantly watching and challenging what you are doing.”
Alfredo Lacayo, a consultant specializing in business finance and cash flow management, agrees. “It’s important to evaluate a business three ways – profits, cash flow and financial health — then compare all this to your industry at least once a month,” he says. “SBDC has access to industry benchmarks so a business can know how they are doing. The business should be at least as fit as their industry.”
Again, we’re here to help. So let’s get to it. What are your biggest challenges and what topics would you like to see explored in this blog? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s keep the lines of communication open.