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Making your £1 million breakthrough

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If you’re starting a business in the UK, you’re in good company right now. About 7% of working-age people are doing exactly that in the next few years. Of course, a lot of those businesses probably won’t survive long-term. That’s just the way the rules of the game work. However, 1 out of every 25 young businesses one day grows up to break the £1 million barrier in turnover. How do they do it? Well, that’s down to a combination of factors.

A good start isn’t enough

Setting up a business isn’t rocket science – unless you’re in the rocket science business, in which case it isn’t brain surgery. Either way, it doesn’t take any particular qualifications or experience to start up. As long as you’ve got a good idea and a plan to achieve it, there’s no specific reason why you can’t hit the £1 million turnover mark. You do have to be prepared to learn as you go, though – and to do it the right way. The old “practice makes perfect” thing is a lie. The truth is that practice makes permanent. Getting better at business means learning where your weak points are and fixing them. No amount of randomly bashing your head against the glass ceiling of your own limits will break you through. Your enthusiasm needs to be properly directed, which means working to fill in the gaps in your knowledge right from day one. Understanding what you can’t do and don’t know is the key to hitting your magic million turnover target.

Learn the local language

We’ve said this before, but accounting is the language of business. It’s not enough to be good at what you do to make money. You also have to be good at handling the money you make. You’ve got to learn how to read profit and loss sheets, and understand why they’re only part of the big picture. You have to understand HMRC’s rules and deadlines, but also how to keep your taxes under control. Crucially, you need to get to grips with cash flow. With good cash flow management, you can forecast the future and weather the unexpected storms. You’ll be prepared for both the best and the worst, and more able to steer things in the right direction.

Dig in for the long haul

You really can’t short-cut your way to success – at least, not to the £1 million mark you’re aiming for. You can, however, clear the road ahead with the right people, skills and tools at your side. There’ll be a point in your growth where you realise you just can’t do it all yourself any more. That’s the time to focus in on the things you do best. Build your teams around everything else to make sure that everyone’s filling a role and not just a desk. Remember that lasting success is about constantly working on your business, not just in your business.

Stick to the plan, until…

The dreams you had and plans you made when you launched your business were a terrific start. Just make sure they aren’t still tethering you to the ground. Times and technologies change, and new opportunities come from unexpected directions. When you’re still small, take advantage of your flexibility to respond to the market you’re serving. Take feedback and switch things up if necessary. By the time you hit the £1 million turnover mark, your business may be very different from the one you started. That’s not a bad thing. Change is a key part of growth.

Most importantly, learn from those around you. You can learn almost as much from the successes and failures of others as you can from your own – and it can be a lot less painful. Always talk to RIFT Accounting for guidance and advice, and let our expertise work for you. In the meantime, grow strong, grow safely and check back here for more Voices from the RIFT

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