Running multiple businesses? Here’s how to ensure success for them all

multiple, growth, sustainability

Running one business successfully can feel like it requires a small army, at times. Managing a few businesses? Well, that’s for the seasoned entrepreneur, unless you have a plan for success and a can-do attitude that’s humble and ready to learn from the mistakes others have made. If you’re facing this possibility, it’s a great idea to speak to your accountant and find the best ways forward based on your circumstances and your goals. However, there are five common tips that every multiple-business owner can benefit from.

1. Give each its own “location” even if it’s only virtual

It’s not always practical for each business to have its own geographical location. For example, if you have a few online stores it would only seem practical to manage them from one desk in one office space. However, give each its own company or trust, its own workflow management system, and its own administrative folders and bank accounts. Treat each separated entity as if it’s the only one you have. If you run into legal troubles with one, it protects the others as they are each seen as separate entities.

2. Share assets and expenses where possible

Separation provides legal protection, but sharing assets can be a cost-saver when done correctly. For example, sharing offices expenses, like consumables, can be a cost saver. You can also utilise third-party services like payroll, purchasing, and sometimes even sales and marketing in a more effective way.

3. Rely on notes…lots of notes

Never trust your memory when you’re working on multiple brands simultaneously. There are a few great pieces of software out there for making notes as you go, like Evernote. It enables you to save images, link, reminders, and create notes. You may also prefer good ol’ pen and paper, the actual writing process can help to improve your memory. It is important to keep a record of everything you’re doing and everything that needs doing for each business, separately.

4.  Build a rock-solid reliable team

Your team will be the ones doing the actual work that makes your business productive and economically viable. Since your attention will be spread among a few different businesses, keep matters neat and tidy by having a separate team for each endeavour. A high functioning team is the backbone of your success, ensure you nurture them and inspire dedication that goes beyond the call of duty to guarantee the job is always done perfectly.

5. Learn that you don’t know what you don’t know

Knowing that you don’t know what you don’t know can actually make or break your business. It means knowing when to DIY it and when to seek out professional assistance from an accountant, an HR pro, a business consultant, or a marketer. Mistakes are expensive. They’re necessary and unavoidable, but minimising them is important if you want to manage multiple businesses successfully. 

Sonia Gibson, Founder and CEO, Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants