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The art of staying successfully small

Staying successfully small is just as hard as growing. I believe it’s a real art form.

When a small business starts to really hit that growth phase, the excitement takes hold and it is so easy to make rash business decisions with your eyes on ever increasing profits.

I thought making money was all about size and scale but I have come to learn (the hard way mind you), that if you structure your business around the RIGHT type of business you can be just as successful.

Part of this is the art of saying NO, which as a small business is really hard, and the other critical part of this is knowing what type of business makes your business money.

In my experience small businesses are bad at saying no; business is business at any cost, right? WRONG! There are all sorts of reasons to say no, bad payers, difficult customers/clients, and low profit margins. There is also my favourite, ‘wear and tear on soul’. Some business is just not worth having at any cost.

Imagine if we all spent as much time generating new business instead of wasting our time on all the issues we have with difficult customers. Our businesses would all be better off.

Taking time out of the day to day to look at the type of business coming in the door and analysing where you are making money is a challenge. Getting to know how to start marketing to the correct audience to make sure you attract the right type of customer when there is not enough time in the day, becomes near impossible. So that’s when you get help.

I have had great success by surrounding myself with talented people who bring their expertise to me without me having to invest in additional staff/infrastructure and talent.  In many instances these specialist have become business partners and alliances. They have enabled me to keep focused on what I do best.

I am talking about external finance consultants, PR mangers, HR consultants to help with staff issues, right down to new business people and casual staff.  They may be with you for a day, a week, or a month, or just working with you on a specific project.

Investing in outsourcing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Pitch your business to a few different people and find the ones that work for you. Make them work to be involved; when you find the right specialist you will know.   There are also virtual options that can be explored.

I have chosen a business model for my business that enables me to be small yet profitable. I am not there yet on my profit targets but have doubled them since last year and next year is looking even better. My decision to surround myself with the right clients and customers, AND my team of ‘external experts’ has enabled me to focus on staying small AND successful.

Alicia Beachley

Alicia Beachley

Alicia Beachley is Founder and CEO of April5, an independent and specialised multi-service marketing agency. April5 enables Alicia to follow her passion for creating campaigns that drive consumer action, change behaviour and that deliver measurable results for clients.With more than 16 years agency experience, Alicia has managed a vast array of campaigns from million dollar consumer promotions to new product launches and national retail and experiential events for a broad range of major clients. Alicia is on the Executive Committee of the Australasian Promotional Marketing Association (APMA), a member of The Communications Council. She also manages the annual APMA Star Awards program, which acknowledges and rewards marketing agencies and clients for their outstanding creativity and strategic prowess. Alicia can be contacted via email alicia@april5.com.au

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