April signals the start of the new financial tax year here in the UK so I thought it would be good to do a series of mini-blogs on how to inflate your income so that you have the best financial year ever! There comes a point in all successful balloon businesses where customer demand outgrows your current capacity. In this article, we look at 5 simple things you can do right now with minimal investment to scale your business and take it to the next level.

There comes a point in most balloon businesses where the pains of success start to burn deep… You have spent months working hard, building your customer base and now the orders are coming thick and fast… You find yourself spending long hours creating designs in… early mornings through to the wee hours, just to keep up with the demands, especially at weekends!

For many, the truth is the bank balance simply doesn’t reflect the hours they are putting in or the time taken away from doing other things they love like spending time with their family or self-care… I know I have been there! Where you are right now!

Do you start to wonder if it is even possible to scale this business to the point where it can give you the life you dream of? After all, there are only so many hours in the day and so many balloons you can make – Right?!

You are not alone… Look around the industry there are so many amazing balloon businesses who have been in your position now. Just like you, they worked crazy hours in the early days until they found the way to scale… and you will too! It is a right of passage as you grow your business! The good news is there are some things you can easily do right now with minimal investment to help your business grow…

5 simple things you can do right now with minimal investment to take your balloon business to the next level…

  • 1. Sort your pricing!
    Okay… Stop groaning! Yes, I know I bang on about pricing all the time but never has it been more important to sort your pricing than at the point you want to scale. Scaling a business requires the correct pricing structure to be able to reinvest in your business for growth. Without correct pricing structures, you simply won’t be able to purchase the equipment you need or employ the staff required for growth.

    You shouldn’t be scared of increasing your prices either… Let’s face it if you have got to the point where you have more orders in the books than hours in the day to fulfil them, and you are at the point of turning away business then it makes perfect sense to increase your prices!

    After all the first step of scaling your balloon business is to work out how you can make more money for doing less… and the easiest way to do that is to increase your prices… so what are you waiting for! You have done the hard work and you have earned the right to do so. In fact, you should not do any of the following steps until you have reviewed and increased your prices!

    (If you are having major brain farts and mind wobbles about this – check out my pricing for profit series here: https://www.balloonbizacademy.co.uk/pricing-for-profit-series/ )
  • 2. Review Your Profitability
    This goes hand in hand with increasing your pricing. If you are preparing to take on more work then you need to know that you are running a streamlined and profitable business. Otherwise, you will be taking on more work but you won’t be making the profit you should be. There are too many busy fools in business – make sure you are not one of them!

    When was the last time you reviewed your outgoings? Helium is one of the biggest expenses in a business – have you got the best deal? Remember you don’t have to shop locally. In the last few years of my business, I ordered my helium from a wholesaler hundreds of miles from me and picked it up at my local gas depot.

    Where else can you be cutting costs in your business? Think about the number of supplies, and the money tied up in them, you have sitting on the shelf… Is it time to streamline the key products you order and offer to your customers so you can reduce the money sitting idle in your business? Are you rotating stock and designing orders with current stock in mind?

    What about utilities, phone bills, rent, internet… now is the time to review every cost in your business and make sure you are not wasting money anywhere
  • 3. Reduce the Number of Jobs You are Doing!
    Wait… isn’t this blog about scaling your business? So why would you reduce the number of jobs you are doing? Surely you want to increase the income? Well yes, this is absolutely true but one of the biggest turning points in my business was when I brought in a minimum order value. If customers wanted me to do their balloons and decor they had to be prepared to spend a minimum amount of money.

    You see… if you are making lots of small £20 orders you are limiting your ability to earn the amount of money you need to scale a business. You need to be doing fewer orders but with a greater value and a greater profit margin to grow your business within the same hours you have available to you.

    If you are not totally ready to bring in a minimum order value for all your customers then I urge you to absolutely bring in a minimum order value for delivery and set up orders and only allow customers to collect for orders under this value.
  • 4. Increase productivity in your balloon business
    This was another major turning point in my business… I was so busy.. working all the hours I had making balloons. It didn’t take long before I was exhausted and frustrated. I knew I had to find a way to fulfil more orders in less time.

    I came up with a system of bulk creating all orders for the week rather than creating individual orders at a time as this meant I could get through the workload far quicker. I also invested in an automatic inflator, a van and a balloon studio (aka glorified summerhouse with air conditioning unit) in the garden. Now I could make balloons further in advance, bag them and transport them to the venues. I could also take on bigger jobs and do fewer of them increasing the amount of money I could make in one day especially over busy weekends.

    Sure it wasn’t cheap I had to find the money and we all know automatic inflators, vans and storage doesn’t come cheap but I can honestly say I quadrupled my capacity to fulfil orders and make money overnight. Suddenly I was able to do so much more. They were definitely the best investments I ever made in my business and my growth wouldn’t have been possible without them…

    If you are at this point look at ways you can spread the cost of such investments without increasing the overall cost. My regular wholesaler was happy for me to pay in instalments for the inflator. If you can’t afford a van of your own can you share another person’s van they don’t use at the weekend until you can? Be creative and look at ways you can increase your productivity now… and make sure your pricing allows you to invest soon in the things you need to grow your business!
  • 5. Take on staff
    There is only so much you can do on your own. Even with automatic sizers and a van you are still going to reach your limit. At this point you need help! If you are fortunate you may be able to utilise family members whilst you work out how best to utilise your staff of the future. There are many ways you can utilise staff – hands-on creating balloons, driving the delivery van, helping set up, clean down after events, sorting stock, answering enquiries or managing your social media to name up a few. The more time you are able to free up for yourself the more time you can spend focusing on what will grow the business.

    When looking at taking on staff there are a few cost-effective ways of getting started. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to take on an apprentice or perhaps zero-hour contract employee. Many balloon businesses have found college students a great way to increase their capacity with lower wage bills, so consider reaching out to your local college who are often very keen to work with local employers and see what the options may be.

    Depending on where you are in the world taking on employees does come with responsibilities so check out what you need to do in terms of the legalities around wages, contracts, insurance etc.

Don’t let fear paralyse you…

Scaling your business can be a little scary… especially if this is your first time running your own business… I know many people put off scaling their business due to the fear and overwhelm of taking the next steps… but it doesn’t need to be paralysing your business. There is lots of support out there and the steps above are all pretty simple, with little investment and without any long-term high risks.

So are you ready to take the next steps to grow a business that gives you the lifestyle you dream of?

I would love to hear your feedback and any other advice you have for others getting ready to grow and scale their business. Please comment below!

🎈Until next time… stay amazing! 🎈

Sonia x

About Sonia

In today’s unpredictable world it’s not enough just to make amazing balloons. You also need to know HOW to grow your business.
Having run my own balloon business for over a decade I now help other balloon business owners, just like you, grow thriving and sustainable businesses.

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