Tag: Small business

How to Grow Your Business Like a Bodybuilder

How to Grow Your Business Like a Bodybuilder

If you’re into bodybuilding, or know someone who is, you’ll have invariably heard the phrases ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ before.

For those that don’t know, bulking is the phase bodybuilders go through when they are attempting to pile on more mass during ‘off-season’.

Cutting, on the other hand, is the process of dieting that bodybuilders go through to strip their body of excess fat and water so they look as ripped as possible on-stage.

By now, you may be thinking, this is a business blog – why are you talking about bodybuilding?

Well, strangely, there are very similar parallels between the two.

Cut away the intricacies, and strip them both back to basics – business and bodybuilding – and you ultimately have a situation where you are trying to build something. Be it your body, or your business.

And in building something, you inevitably face phases whereby you focus on growth, and also phases where you strip things back a little.

No business can continue to grow infinitely and uninterrupted, and no growth cycle is ever as smooth as it looks from the outside.

There are mistakes, strategic changes, recruitment drives, employment cuts, investment, and divestment – until the business reaches its optimal performance.

A businesses’ bulking cycle could be seen as the process of investment – through recruitment drives, property purchases, business infrastructure, more stock, and so on.

But, as with bodybuilding, you cannot go through a bulking cycle (regardless of how clean you eat or how hard you train) and not also gain some amount of fat and water retention. It is impossible.

In the case of a business, the ‘fat’ could be seen as overstaffing in certain areas, overstock on certain product lines that don’t sell that fast, excess/unused office or warehouse space, and so on.

These are the natural (and inevitable) side-effects of growth – it’s impossible to maintain perfection during a growth cycle. You WILL gain some unwanted by-products from the growth process – it’s precisely why bodybuilders go through the bulking and cutting cycle. If it was possible to maintain competition physique whilst gaining more mass in a bulking cycle, then these cycles wouldn’t exist – bodybuilders would just constantly ‘bulk’.

So, then comes the ‘cut’.

When the dust has settled during a growth phase, and the business can be analysed in the areas of profitability and efficiency, the business leaders will then go through a phase of stripping any unnecessary ‘fat’ from within the business.

They’ll cut staff, refine their stock holding and discount/discontinue slow-moving lines, they’ll re-organise processes to gain more efficiency, and they may even dispose of unwanted or unprofitable assets within the business.

Until, down the line, the business has retained much of the revenue it gained through the growth cycle, and has now stripped down to show a healthy profit on that turnover following the ‘cut’.

Just like a bodybuilder, following a cut, would look to maintain most of the lean muscle mass they gained during a bulking cycle, but have stripped away any excess fat and water during the cut – achieving an optimal physique for competition.

All businesses go through these cycles over time in order to ultimately achieve profitable growth – and it takes a careful balance and strategic management to perform successfully.

Focus too much on the growth phase of your business and you’ll have a high-revenue organisation that struggles to turn a profit (or even worse, makes a loss) or that turns a profit but struggles with cash.

Alternatively, focus too much on the profit aspect of your business (and be fearful of reinvesting for future growth), and you’ll see little to no growth in your business over time, and your profit will stagnate.

As a business owner/manager, you have to go through these cycles in order to progress, but you also have to be mindful of the downside associated with not achieving an optimal balance between the two.

What stage are you currently in with your business? Bulk or Cut? Please share your business growth story in the comments below.

The 11 Best Business Startup Twitter Feeds to Follow

Twitter is a busy, noisy environment.

So much so, it’s often difficult to filter through your feed to retrieve necessary, useful information from the other waffle.

So I’ve done the hard work for you.

I’ve sourced 11 of the best, most useful Twitter feeds for small business owners and entrepreneurs to follow.

These feeds are packed with juicy information about running and growing a business, developing your promotional strategy, where to reinvest in your business, and much much more.

They consist of some of the World’s leading entrepreneurs and business owners – providing you with tried and tested techniques and tips to grow your own small business.

Marc Nager (@marcnager)

As the founder of Startup Weekend you can naturally expect a plethora of entrepreneurial tips, networking (mainly US) and collaboration opportunities, and other interesting stories from Marc.

He posts around once or twice a day, so is not one to hog your feed!

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

As the owner of his own media agency, Gary knows a thing or two about online promotional strategy. With his motivational quotes and business tips, he’ll have you fired-up with energy each day to hustle.

A frequent poster, and not one for haters of profanity – he likes to use the F-bomb . . . a lot!

Pat Flynn (@patflynn)

Pat is someone I followed about 3 or so years back, and I remember reading his passive income blog – seeing his transparent income reports, and that he was making several thousand pounds each month through passive income techniques.

Now, revisiting his blog 3 years on, I see he’s now generating over $150,000 per month! And he’s still showing people his income reports on how he achieves this income.

Pat is very open and honest about his techniques, so there’s a lot to be learnt from him by following.

Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog)

Seth consistently blogs every day – mostly short snippets of a motivational and philosophical nature, so they are quick and easy to read.

You can use his Twitter feed to stay up-to-date when his new posts go live.

Neil Patel (@neilpatel)

Neil is the co-founder of CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics – so he knows a thing or two about online marketing and data processing.

Follow him for some useful tips and techniques on how to build your email lists, improve your SEO, make sales on social media, and many more.

Richard Branson (@richardbranson)

Needing no introduction, Mr Branson shares his thoughts on legislation, shares his insight and life stories, and also inspires an entrepreneurial mindset in everyone.

A must-follow for any aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner.

Brett Bernstein (@bhbern)

CEO of Gatsby, a self-service technology to design ecommerce promotions, Brett regularly shares business news, insights, and health-related tweets.

Inspiring, insightful, and a very useful follow for the small business owner.

Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)

The man behind the 4-hour work week, Tim is experimental and exciting to follow.

He isn’t afraid to try new things, so you can learn what works and what doesn’t, from him.

Mark Suster (@msuster)

Entrepreneur turned investor Mark now runs Upfront Ventures – a VC that has none other than the rapper Chamillionaire as an Entrepreneur in Residence.

Sounds strange, I know, but aside from the political tweets, Mark has a lot to share about the entrepreneurial journey and investing. Worth a follow.

Anil Dash (@anildash)

Ethically-motivated entrepreneur Anil shares his insight from the World of tech and retweets even more useful articles and quotes from other entrepreneurs.

Fred Wilson (@fredwilson)

Simply describes himself as a VC. He also posts some very interesting information on tech, politics, and of course, investing.

Also a big advocate of Twitter itself.

And that concludes my list of who to follow if you are an entrepreneur.

Following these people will ensure your daily feed is filled with useful, helpful, and insightful content – allowing you to build on your own entrepreneurial journey and success.

Know any more good Twitter accounts that small business owners should be following? Please share them in the comments below.


15 Ways for Small Business Owners to Improve Productivity


It means different things to different business owners.

Increasing sales by 10% for one small business may mean massive progress, whereas for the next, it could mean failure in relation to their objectives.

But one thing is for certain, everyone wants to make progress in what they are doing.

Whether it be growing sales, building new revenue channels, or just getting day-to-day tasks completed.

And to make this progress, we must be productive. We must consistently work towards our goals in an efficient, effective manner.

But how do you achieve consistently strong productivity?

A restless night or distractions can often cause your productivity to nosedive, so how do you pick your productivity back up-to-speed so you can maintain progress towards your goals?

Here’s 15 ways to improve your productivity as a small business owner.

They are techniques I regularly employ as I juggle my responsibilities as a husband, father, CEO of Vitalife Group, my other businesses, property, this blog and my Udemy course.

The following techniques help me to maintain progress in all areas, and also to enjoy the journey – ensuring I have ample time to spend in my most important and enjoyable roles as husband and father.

Check and Respond to Emails Just Twice a Day (Maximum)

One of my biggest distractions is emails.

I’m normally working in a web browser on my laptop, with my email tabs for various accounts open constantly.

As soon as a new email drops in, it’s too tempting to come away from what I’m doing and check what it is!

Whilst I haven’t yet broken this habit of checking (I can’t ignore the anxiety of missing an urgent email – since almost all my communication with staff and other people is by this method), I have implemented the discipline to drop whatever it is into my ‘follow-ups’ folder (provided it isn’t absolutely urgent) and deal with my follow-ups for 1 hour at the end of each day.

This ensures that I can stay focused on what I’m working on, and am not constantly switching my attention to dealing with emails throughout the day.

When you allow your emails to take-over your day, you’ll reach the end of the day and not really feel like you have achieved anything – because you’ll have been flitting from micro-task to micro-task and not working towards your own, higher-level objectives for your business.

Not only do emails cause distraction and affect your immediate productivity, they also eventually lead you to lose motivation as you never get to feel the sense of achievement you gain when you complete a task or tick-off a to-do each day.

Let them wait for a reply. Your own objectives are more important.

Consistently Work Towards an Actionable To-Do List

To-Do lists allow you to direct your daily activities in-line with your higher-level business objectives.

They are effectively a bitesize, broken-down collection of micro-objectives that make up your longer-term business objectives.

Having a to-do list therefore not only guides you, daily, in the right direction, but it also helps to make longer-term objectives seem more achievable and maintains motivation as you work towards them since you can see real progress as you tick-off your to-dos.

I cover building actionable to-do lists from your higher-level objectives in my 4-week business course.

Ensuring to-dos are actionable, and breaking them down as much as possible, maximises productivity by allowing you to focus on each specific task involved in meeting an objective, rather than wandering towards a vague high-level goal.

Try Not to Multitask

As with emails, attempting to perform more than one task at once is not good for productivity or motivation.

Although, admittedly, multitasking is sometimes unavoidable (especially when you’re working from home and have a toddler placing toys on your lap asking you to play as you type – which is happening as I speak!), you should actively try to focus on just one task at a time.

This is called ‘monotasking’.

The best analogy I can give for this is when you attempt to download several large files at once.

If you just downloaded one file at a time, you would achieve 1, 2, or maybe 3 large downloads in a day. Whereas if you attempted to download 10 all at once, you wouldn’t achieve a single download in that day.

Your attention and productivity similarly has its own bandwidth – spread it too thin, and you won’t see any real achievements on a daily basis, which in-turn damages your motivation by never reaching a sense of achievement in that day.

But focus on just one task at a time, you might get several to-dos done in the day, which in-turn boosts motivation as you see tangible progress each day.

Don’t Procrastinate 

Jump in, and adapt.

If you sit thinking about a task for too long, you’ll never start it.

We’ve all got that to-do on our list that we’ve been putting-off because it’s either not enjoyable, too big, or you just don’t know where to begin with it.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can actually clear this from your list however, if you just make a start on it, and give it your full attention for the day.

I’m often the same with my blog posts. Each month my strategy is to build a list of blog titles for the coming month, and I then flesh my content out from these titles.

It’s easy to come up with the titles, making them engaging and relevant to my audience, but it’s harder to start typing the actual content. I have writer’s block, and don’t know where to begin. Partly out of wanting to achieve perfection and keep my content engaging, and partly from just not having my mind properly on the task and the topic.

The way I deal with this?

I just force myself to start typing.

More often than not, it will snowball from here. New ideas come to me as I type and focus my mind on each micro-topic in the post, and before I know it, I’m 2,000 words in and forcing myself to bring things to a close so it’s not too long-winded!

So just dive in, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t even really need to know what you’re doing – adapt and learn as you go, and it will all come together faster than you think.

Stay Hydrated

If you aren’t properly hydrated, you lose concentration.

Water is the single most important resource for the human body, and when it becomes depleted, your performance can fall – both in a mental and a physical capacity.

I often rely on warm drinks like tea (matcha green tea, in particular – which is great for concentration) and decaffeinated coffee for my hydration, getting through 8-10 cups per day.

But it’s also great if you mix in some drinks of water and juice too.

Just stay away from the sugary, fizzy stuff and too much caffeine – these will have you ‘crashing’ later in the day and caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can dehydrate you if you have too much.

Delegate and Automate

Rely on staff and software to conduct day-to-day, repetitive activities so that you can focus your time and energy on value-adding activities only.

If you find the right staff and put people in the right roles, you shouldn’t have to spend too much time supervising their work – just ensure they remain motivated and interested in their role, and pay mind to their own personal objectives and interests, and they’ll do what you need them to do.

If possible, automation is the preference to delegation – if you can automate a business process then, aside from the initial investment in software or machinery, you should see ongoing cost savings from labour-intensive, alternative solutions. Plus, automation removes the possibility of human error in the process.

Either way, try to make your day-to-day activities redundant through delegation and automation, and you’ll see your productivity and business progress soar, as you start to focus on more value-adding activities.

I cover more about automation and delegation in the 4th week of my online business course.

Swerve Meetings that Don’t Align with your Objectives

Re-assess the meetings you have in your calendar. Do you really need to attend these?

If they don’t directly relate to your business objectives, cancel them.

Meetings are just as distracting as emails, except even more time consuming and therefore costly.

For me to have a face-to-face meeting with somebody, it HAS to present the possibility of something major, aligned with my business objectives – or it won’t happen. I value my time too much to spend it in meetings that are purely for the benefit of the other party, or that are not valuable enough to my business.

Don’t have meetings for meeting’s sake.

Get 8 Hours of Sleep a Night

Sleep deprivation can affect your decision-making abilities, and has a negative impact on your productivity and concentration.

Ensure you go to bed early enough, or sleep in long enough, to get 8 hours of rest each night.

And if this is totally impossible, find time to take a nap the following day to make the hours up.

Sleep gives your body and mind time to recover and repair. If you don’t give your body enough time to do this, your productivity, and eventually your health, will suffer.

Stay Fit, Healthy, and Active

Feeling good about yourself and being 100% fit and healthy has a huge impact on your productivity.

If you don’t have good health, you will be constantly hindered by illness and ailments, and it is impossible to maintain 100% productivity in this situation.

Staying fit, healthy, and active takes investment – in both time and energy. You need to plan meals, prepare fresh food, and take time to exercise and workout.

Granted, this steals time that you could otherwise spend on your business, but would you rather spend 20% of your time dedicated to staying fit and well so that you can maintain 100% productivity, or devote 100% of your time to your business alone, and only achieve 20% productivity due to illness and poor performance?

With full productivity and focus, you can achieve much more in a shorter period of time – so don’t worry about dedicating time to your health and wellness, your business will benefit from this too.

Eat Well and Supplement your Diet

Eating well and supplementing your diet where necessary, are just as important as exercise in terms of maintaining your health.

Wherever possible, try to eat fresh fruit and veg, and maintain a healthy balanced diet.

If you’re aware of any nutrients that you are lacking, then supplement them – to ensure your body has everything it needs to achieve optimal performance.

I personally take CoEnzyme Q10 for heart health, Magnesium Glycinate, a Probiotic for digestive health, Potassium for effective muscle function, and Omega 3,6,9 for my good fats.

Being the owner of www.vitalifehealth.com and www.lovehealthhatewaste.com helps when it comes to understanding what supplements you need to fill the gaps in your diet, but with a little research you’ll be able to figure out a supplement regime for yourself too.

Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks, especially from your computer screen, helps maintain concentration and also allows you to recharge and come back with fresh ideas.

I often take this approach when blogging too. Leaving a post midway to do other things means that when I come back, I’ve usually had some other fresh ideas to include, and it allows me to read what I’ve already written with fresh eyes – so I can spot any changes that should be made.

Don’t be Afraid to Work Unconventional Hours

When you’re running your own small business, and especially if you also have a young family (like me), 9-5 hours go out of the window.

You may need to break-off in the middle of the day for a family event, for the gym or a run, or for a walk, to pick the kids up or drop them off at school, to take them swimming – whatever it may be.

In a typical day I get around 3 solid hours of work done early in a morning, then I’ve got other commitments that break my day up, so I typically only solidly work in 2 or 3 hour blocks, with gaps in-between for the gym, for family, for going for a walk, or anything else.

I probably average around 6-7 hours of work per day, but it’s all broken-down into chunks of 2-3 hours a time.

Provided you are 100% productive in the hours you’re working, you shouldn’t even need to work 9-5 each day to do what you have to do. And if you are working more than this, and the weekends, then you seriously have to address your productivity at work and your work-life balance.

Take a Holiday

Taking a break from work can give you completely fresh perspective and new ideas – and it also helps to recharge your battery, allowing you to come back with optimum productivity.

I’ve had my best business ideas whilst I’ve been on holiday, and I’ve come back with more motivation than when I went, because I have new, exciting things to experiment with.

Make Sure You’re Doing what you Love to do

Ultimately, make sure you’re still doing what you love.

I’m a huge supporter of following your dreams and only doing something that you have a true passion for. You spend the majority of your life working, so you might aswell spend it doing something you love, right?

The reason your productivity may be falling is because you are no longer enjoying what you are doing.

If this is the case, take a short break away from what you are doing and re-assess what you want to be doing.

If you can’t realign yourself within your current business to focus on your passion and the reason you first started your business, then don’t be afraid to admit that what you are doing is no longer enjoyable, and move-on.

Don’t become trapped doing something you hate – you’ll become depressed.

Break free. It may be painful in the short-term, both mentally and financially, but provided you know what your true passion is, and what you want to spend your time doing, then it will be much more rewarding in the long-term to focus on what you love to do.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Bigger Picture

Your business isn’t everything. Life has a wider scope than your business.

Make sure you dedicate enough time to family, friends, adventure, travelling, and leisure pursuits – these moments not only allow you to recharge, they also give fresh perspective and allow you to enjoy life as a whole – rather than constantly obsessing over your business.


Often, the things we think distract us from productivity are the very things that help to boost and maintain it.

Take frequent breaks from work, dedicate time to leisure and fitness activities, get plenty of rest, and don’t work silly hours.

Sure, you could work 6am-9pm 7 days a week on your business, and you might see positive results for a week or so. But this isn’t sustainable. You’ll burn-out faster than you think.

Don’t feel guilty for doing the things you love.

Having your own business brings with it freedom that those working a 9-5 do not share, but often it is the fear of guilt that ties small business owners into relinquishing this freedom, and they end-up working more hours than a regular employee, often for less reward.

It’s the guilt of not trying your best, not giving your business your all, and of what it could achieve if you dedicated 100% of your time and effort to your business alone.

Well, I’m here to tell you that its not quite as simple and linear as it seems.

Human emotion and mechanics are involved – and wherever these play a role, things are never completely straightforward.

Giving 100% of your time and effort to your business alone, does not generate as much growth or progress as it would if you gave 50-70% of your waking time to your business, and the rest to other things you love to do.

When you nourish your mind and body with the things it needs to maintain productivity, your business will also be rewarded in-turn.

Focus on yourself, feed your passions, and give your body what it needs – and the rest will take care of itself.

If you have any other tips for boosting productivity, please share them in the comments below.

5 Things you Should Know Before Starting your Own Business

So, you’re thinking of starting your own business.

Leaving a secure income for an entrepreneurial venture can be exciting and scary at the same time.

I’ve been through the process before, so I know about the mix of anxious emotions you are going through right now.

Fear not! I have a short guide that covers the five things you should know before you start your own business – giving your new venture the best chance of success and a heads-up on the common pitfalls when starting a small business.

When I left my job for my first full-time business venture, I’d already dabbled in various businesses throughout College and University, and I had built up the business I wanted to go full-time with whilst I was working a 9-5 – so I had experience and a little know-how, plus a revenue generating business to hop-over to and not have to wait until my business began to generate income.

This put many of my anxieties at ease when the time came to leave my 9-5, and I’d recommend building your business alongside a secure income if you have the opportunity to do so, it just removes that little bit of extra stress and allows you to test the feasibility of your business before you take the plunge.

That said, whatever route you choose to take, these 5 tips I’m about to show you will help you to hit the ground running and get your new business up-to-speed as quickly and as painless as possible.

So, here goes:

Understand your market and build your USP (Unique Selling Point) around it

Don’t be naive.

There will very likely be more established competition already out there serving your potential customers.

It won’t be easy to convince those customers to leave that established competitor and try your new, untested brand.

You need to offer customers something that meets their needs better than your competition.

So, you need to understand what is currently frustrating them about your competitors. Where are your competitors failing your potential customers?

Are they not offering additional products/services that customers find valuable? Are they offering poor after-sales or customer support? Does their current offering not quite meet customer needs properly?

Run surveys, read reviews, and scan forums/blogs to find what customers are saying about your competitors.

Find what is frustrating them, and you’ve found your usp, that you can enter the market with and fulfil customer needs better than anyone else.

And if you can’t find any obvious frustrations, then aim to serve customers even better than competitors currently do – can you be more competitive on price? Offer more attentive customer service? Or offer superior products/services?

It’s much easier to understand and communicate your unique selling points before you launch, rather than have to switch the direction of your business after launch to better serve the market demands.

So spend the time now researching what your usp will be and make sure that it offers true value to your audience.

Noone cares as much for your business as you do

Friends, family, employees, suppliers, advisors, customers, everyone!

Nobody cares about your business as much as you do. They just don’t have the emotional or financial investment that you have in your business, and they never will.

They will also never fully understand the pressures and situations you will face with your business.

Friends and family who have paid jobs will not understand the financial pressures and the need to take on debt or other finance to grow.

Entrepreneur friends will be too busy with their own business and pressures.

Employees, suppliers, and customers all have their own objectives, goals and pressures to be concerned with the pressures you face with your business.

You therefore need to learn how to cope with pressure on your own, and fast!

You also need to understand how to concurrently manage and satisfy various stakeholder objectives. If you focus purely on your own objectives, you’ll never achieve full productivity from employees, you’ll never achieve mutually rewarding relationships with suppliers, and you’ll not satisfy your customers properly.

Work towards your business objectives, but also be mindful of what the objectives are of those around you – the people who will help you to meet your business objectives.

Don’t be selfish. Help others, and they will help you.

Cashflow is king

Pay close attention to this from the outset.

Run out of cash, and your business no longer exists.

It’s important here to outline the difference between cash and profit.

Your business can have no cash but still show a profit – if you’re investing in stock or capital equipment for instance. So no cash doesn’t necessarily mean you are failing – it may mean you are reinvesting every penny to fuel profitability and growth.

But just be careful – you have to achieve a fine balance between short-term survival and long-term growth.

This was, and still is, the biggest challenge I face in my own businesses.

In one of my businesses, it never has cash in the bank! Every penny to date has been reinvested in capital equipment or software and stock, so the business has shown a profit for the last 6 years, but still doesn’t have a penny in the bank. But what it does have is over £310,000 in stock, assets, and property.

This is an extreme example of focusing purely on long-term growth and maintaining bare minimum finances in the short-term to survive. I know of entrepreneur friends that have done the opposite in their business, they have large cash reserves but barely any asset value – this doesn’t really interest me. I don’t see the point in cash unless you are doing something with it – holding cash in the bank for the sake of reducing your anxiety and having something to look at on your statement can hold you back in the long term.

Don’t be scared to reinvest it all, it will pay off in the long run. But make sure you keep enough back to pay the bills!

Do it for the love, not for the money

Money is great. Money motivates you to get out of bed and get to the office. But money does not motivate you whilst you’re in the midst of dealing with tricky situations, whilst replying to customer queries, or mucking-in and packing customer orders.

It motivates you to get to work, but doesn’t motivate you when you’re AT work. That comes from an intrinsic love and passion for what you are doing.

If you are doing something you love – beyond the financial benefit, your motivation will be much stronger and you’ll last longer than someone pursuing purely money.

Although my businesses have mostly been profitable from the outset, I only started to see significant returns and growth after several years of hard grind.

In those years of hustling and grinding for little reward, if I was in it purely for the cash, I would have given up and gone to get a job instead – heck, it seemed a lot easier and more financially rewarding and I did entertain the thought more than once.

But something else motivated me, I had a vision to build a multi-faceted brand that operates in health, wellness and ethical sectors – to deliver better health, wellbeing, and enjoyment to other people in as many ways as we can. And this is a vision that still drives what I do today.

If I didn’t have this longer-term goal, I’m certain I’d have given up long ago, way before the real growth and financial reward started to materialise.

It’s quite ironic. When you look at most billionaires, and you research their approach and mindset, there’s a lack of emotional attachment to money. They are more focused on a vision or high-level goal.

They won’t have achieved billionaire status by focusing on becoming a billionaire – because when they made their first million, they’d value the money too much to reinvest in high risk, high reward ventures, and their investments would be less bold and therefore present less reward – meaning they never reach billionaire level.

Lose your emotional attachment to money, and stay focused on the goals that truly motivate you. The money will follow.

If you want to grow fast, you need investment

Don’t expect to build a multi-million pound business in a couple of years with no investment.

I’m not saying it is impossible to achieve this, many have. But the number of people who haven’t, and have tried, are 1000 fold.

It’s unlikely you’ll grow that substantially, that quickly, without an initial injection of cash.

Imagine this. You set up a business with £200 seed capital, and you spend this on your website, incorporation, and so on – as though you were following my 4-week business set-up course.

You achieve your first £500 in advertising after a few weeks of promoting and populating your site with content. That repays your initial £200 investment and leaves £300 to reinvest. You then invest this money into physical stock to sell on your site. You work on 50% gross margin and you start to store the stock at home and pick/pack the goods yourself to minimise overheads.

Assuming you have total stock turnover every 4 weeks, that’s a £150 surplus after repayment of your initial investment in stock, and you can then invest £450 in stock for the following 4 weeks, and it starts to have a compounding effect throughout the year.

By the end of the year, you’ll have made a few thousand pounds. Which is great, but when you start to throw in overheads that come with growth like a warehouse and employees, that will soon disappear.

Add three 0’s onto the example figures above, and you’ll be making millions each year – and economies of scale will ensure that a good chunk of profit remains even after overheads are taken into account. But not many people will have £300,000 to invest in stock from the outset – so here’s where you need funding if you want to see fast growth.

This principle is highlighted in another exercise. Start with 1, and x2. Then times the result by 2, then that result by 2, and so on.

The growth as a %age remains the same each time – your figure is growing by 100%. But the actual figure, in the early stages, is only increasing by 1, then 2, then 4 and so on – small numbers. But get to 1,000,000 and times by 2, and you’ve just created another 1,000,000 – a substantial figure.

If you receive investment, it bumps you up the multiplication table and makes sustantial returns more accessible in a shorter period of time. Starting at 1, multiplying by 2, takes a long time to hit substantial numbers.

The same principle applies when you are building your business. So if you want to grow fast, be prepared to take on debt or give away equity to achieve investment.

And there you have it!

All of these tips come from my own experiences in business – they aren’t an exact science, and your experience in business may differ wildly. That’s part of the beauty of business, no one rule applies to all businesses!

But they should provide a good degree of guidance before you get your own small business underway and hopefully prepare you somewhat for what’s ahead.

If you already have your own small business and have your own tips to share on starting up, please drop your comments below. I would love to hear about your particular experience and advice.