By Inkoo Lee
Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
After a long period of planning and hard work, you’ve finally turned your dream of starting a small business into reality.
As many business owners soon recognize, however, the launch is just the beginning of their entrepreneurship journey. Once you’re open for business, it’s time to start thinking about how to grow and scale your company for longer-term success.
Many small businesses are very young—over half are less than 10 years old and nearly half of small businesses exit within the first five years. The smallest businesses have relatively diverse ownership, and the smaller the business, the more likely it is to be owned by a woman or minority.
Consider these steps to begin taking your small business to the next level:
- Secure additional financing. Future financing plans could include applying for more loans, grants or investor funding. It’s helpful to build a strong relationship with a bank you trust, which will play a critical role in supporting your small business’ growth, as well as connect you to other resources. For instance, JPMorgan Chase’s Special Purpose Credit Program helps expand credit access in majority Black, Hispanic and Latino communities for business owners who otherwise might not be approved or receive it on less favorable terms. Through the Global Supplier Diversity Grant Initiative qualified and certified diverse businesses have access to affordable growth capital to cover costs including technology, cyber or networking remediation; operational control enhancements, among other costs.
- Streamline operations. Investing now in operations processes could pay off in the long run, such as using digital tools to simplify and automate processes like invoicing, approvals and payments. You can move money faster with real-time payments, which can improve your cash flow while minimizing the risk of fraud.
- Build your team. While many small businesses are solo operations, adding team members to manage the workload can help make your business run more smoothly. If you already have an accountant or bookkeeper, build from there and add other employees who have the industry expertise to help put your business on the path for lasting success.
- Expand your network. You’ll need advisors, consultants and experts who have seen it all, or who know someone who has. Spend time identifying events, like trade shows and expos, informational sessions, and networking receptions with buyers and potential suppliers, as well as programs you may qualify for that offer additional support. Making these connections can also open your business to new customers. JPMorgan Chase offers a free one-on-one coaching program across 21 U.S. cities, featuring 45 trained Senior Business Consultants to mentor and coach small business owners so they can better run their business. Since 2020, the program has helped more than 2,800 minority owned businesses grow.
The operations and methods you used to get your business started may not be the same ones you need to scale it. Focusing on your future and investing in your facilities, teams and processes can get your organization oriented toward growth and help minimize business interruptions down the road.