Many entrepreneurs would agree that a business is like a baby. It takes a lot of time, effort and resources when it’s born and, provided it gets the right nurturing and foundations in its infancy, it has the potential to grow into a successful and profitable business.
So how does one go about growing a business? A lot of it boils down to investing, investing some more, and then reinvesting again.
Business growth spurt
Like a child, a business (whether franchise or stand-alone) needs to be fed and watered for it to grow: and if you put nothing in, you can’t expect something out. A prime example of investing in one’s business is Ami Behari, owner of a Timber City Franchise.
In 1997 Behari’s brother wanted early retirement and put his Timber City franchise – opened in 1988 – up for sale.
Back in 1997 the store in Springs was 150m2. Behari, whose experience until that point had been in purchasing, knew that the franchise had a lot of potential, but it required a lot of investing to get it where he knew it could be.
Implementing the game plan
When Behari took ownership of the store, he set about pouring as much of the profits as possible back into the business: fifteen years later, the store now stands at 5 500m2, employs a sizeable staff and operated on an 80/20 principle of 80% cutting and edging for cabinet making, and 20% retail.
“I realised that finished products were where we could grow, so I first invested in two machines, and now I have another 2 machines ordered,” says Behari.
It’s a smart move. Too many entrepreneurs become tempted to dip into the profits of their business in order to enjoy the finer things in life.
What happens in this case is that the business has no capital to grow, and if a business cannot grow, it cannot continue to support your lifestyle, and something has to give.
The tangible investments
Equipment is not the only thing that Behari has invested in: “Having a general manager and managers of each department makes the business run smoothly.
There’s only so much I can get done in a day and I would never be able to run a business this size by myself, so it’s important to have the right number of staff on hand to help me,” says Behari.
Security is another investment. “When you’re the supplier of desirable goods theft becomes an issue,” Behari explains. “Besides stock losses, customers want to know that they’re safe when they’re here,” Behari explains.
To resolve this, Behari has invested in comprehensive security that includes CCTV cameras, security personnel at the entrance, and a system of cross-checking purchases with receipts.
The intangible investment
One of the most important investments Behari has made in his business has been his time. “I spend 6 days a week here, all trading hours.”
As an owner-operator who is very hands on, Behari is able to monitor how his business and staff are performing, where there are problems to be addressed, and what systems can be improved to better the customer experience and increase profitability.
“It’s stressful at times, especially because I personally handle about 80% of the product purchases, but also because staff need to be motivated, customers kept happy, stock managed and security monitored.”
Behari’s biggest motivator, however, is believing in the following equation: “If you mismanage your stock, you lose.
If you mismanage a business, you lose. The more you invest in your business, the more motivated you are to make sure it succeeds.”