Posted: Fri 11th Nov 2022
Enterprise Nation adviser Susana Marambio is co-owner and director at Beacon Business Commercial Services [BBCS] in Cork, Ireland
She tells us why she got involved with Enterprise Nation and how she is helping business owners to future-proof their businesses.
Remember to connect with Susana today for more brilliant support.
What challenges do small businesses face when it comes to scaling their business?
The 3three most common challenges are lack of structure, knowledge and time.
Most business owners know they want to grow from A to B, however, without putting in place the structure that allows them to grow, without having a roadmap with milestones containing short-term and long-term wins as well as hands-on support with the implementation of those strategies and managing the day-to-day business - it can become overwhelming!
Also, we have realised that many businesses don't differentiate between growth and scale - the two terms are often confused. Although scaling a business is related to growing a business, growth and scaling are not the same.
Growth refers to increased revenue. It could be a result of new business acquisitions, new contracts, etc. However, it doesn't necessarily mean increased profit.
In business, the definition of 'scale' is to increase revenue at a faster rate than costs. Businesses achieve this in a number of ways, from adopting new technologies to finding 'gaps' in their operations that can be streamlined.
Businesses that are able to add revenue and increase operational demands while maintaining the same costs – or even lowering costs – will be able to scale successfully.
Scale also means flexibility, agility, and versatility – all the things that equip your business for expansion but also prepare them for unforeseen changes that can and have blown many a business off course.
For example: If you run a professional services company, and you won a €50k contract. However, to deliver it, you must invest in new employees and tools for €50k.
You are adding to your revenue, but you’re breaking even in terms of profit margins – you’re growing, but you’re not scaling.
If you win the €50k contract, invest €5k and only hire part-time support at €15k, you’re keeping €30,000 – and you’re scaling efficiently.
How can you support small businesses?
When every new business starts out they need to be looking at scalability, not just profit growth; however, we know that's not how it all starts, so we sit with business owners and analyse the different areas of the business to get an understanding of what is working, what's not and how we can introduce short term wins as well as a long term sustainable structure.
We normally will help small business owners to create their business plan, including sales and marketing strategy, and determine how scalable these are.
We help them to create a step-by-step roadmap, based on their resources, and then we will support them with the implementation, not just providing direction, but hands-on support.
How did you become involved with Enterprise Nation?
After over 25 years in the corporate world, during the pandemic, we helped small businesses with zero online presence to survive, introducing basic digital tools to allow them to sell their products.
We saw the positive impact our experience and holistic commercial knowledge had on those businesses, so when we moved to Ireland we decided to set up our own business.
I read and attended multiple webinars from Enterprise Nation in 2021 and as we share the same goal of supporting small businesses and helping them thrive, I grabbed the opportunity of becoming an adviser when I learned they were setting up in Ireland.
Finally, give us three tips you have for small business owners
Know your numbers
Don't leave them to your accountant. You need to understand your costs, overhead and profits. You need to understand the difference between profitability and cash flow. Cash flow is what pays your bills!
Make time for the important
Any business owners believe that if they are not working on something that will generate immediate sales, maybe it is not important.
However, planning, reviewing results, understanding changes in the market and so on is extremely important if you want to future-proof your organisation.
Ask for help
And I don't say this because I am a business consultant. In my corporate career, I had coaches and mentors. I attended multiple sessions of leadership training and I would network across the business so that when I had questions or I needed help, I would have someone to ask.
Without outside inputs, there is a moment when we all start recycling our thoughts, ideas and solutions and we stop looking at what's going on outside our world, and that is a very dangerous place for a business leader.