7 Signs Your Small Business Needs Financial Investment to Grow

14/07/2015

Accessing Finance

very business owner dreams of their business growing and becoming more profitable. But without the right investment behind you, being successful could drift even further away. 

It’s easy to get so caught up in your small business that you can’t see the problems you face ahead of you, especially if they might cost you a lot of money. For example, perhaps you don’t employ enough staff, or your current staff does not have the right skill set. Your equipment might be out of date or no longer fit for purpose but you fear the cost of replacing it. Sometimes it’s easier to overlook problems until they become impossible to ignore. But how do you know when is the right time to secure investment for your business? 

Perhaps you’re not sure where to start, or what to prioritise? Here are 7 signs that your small business needs investment to grow. 

1. You lack an online presence

It’s incredibly rare for businesses to not have some form of online presence in this day and age. Even if you think that you acquire the majority of your business through word of mouth or simply by foot traffic, you’re still limiting your scope to reach more customers if you don’t market your business online. Plus, did you know that more and more people will search online before they visit a local store? If you’re not online, this could be a missed opportunity. 

You don’t need to start with a huge website development project; consider starting out with a social media presence first. Claim your Google Plus Brand Listing as this means your local business will be pulled into the local search results for relevant searches. Set up a Facebook brand page too and invite people to like and share your page. Then start to promote your business through these avenues using updates, imagery, customer reviews and special offers. Once you start to see positive responses from these channels, then consider creating your business’ website.  

2. When processes are slowing you down 

Allowing your productivity to be slowed down by over complicated or slow processes means it will take longer for you to see a return. As a small business it is understandable that you will be slower in certain aspects due to limited resource. But if you find that you’re getting slower at taking orders or battling through administration issues on a daily basis, then it’s probably the best time to invest in software that helps you streamline this process. 

For example, if you do your bookkeeping manually, there’s accounting software which might be worthwhile upgrading to, helping to save you time and money. Or if you’re lacking up to date software, consider financing an upgrade as this could help you boost productivity. By updating your processes you’re then able to dedicate more time to your business, helping it to grow. 

3. When out-dated equipment is holding you back 

For some businesses, like a micro-brewery, it’s inherent within the nature of the business for products to take a while to reach a saleable state. But if your equipment is failing or causing you to miss deadlines or not meet customer demand, it makes business sense to invest in maintaining your current equipment or upgrading. 

For example, if you’re a pub owner and one of your pumps is prone to working intermittently, it means you have one unreliable pump where you don’t know if you can serve beer from one day to the next. Consider getting financial help to fund the repair and boost the number of beverages you can serve in a day. 

Similarly, if you’re a salon owner and your equipment is looking tired and worn out, it doesn’t make a good impression on customers and will likely lead to clients choosing more plush establishments. 

Updating your equipment can seem like a rather expensive task. After researching what your business needs you’ll want to decide what type of funding is best. Liberis offer Merchant Cash Advances which can be used to fund technology or equipment upgrades. Either way, be sure to shop around for the best deal on your equipment needs. 

4. When your workplace is starting to feel cramped 

If you have outgrown your premises, that’s a very positive sign. It means that your business has become so successful that you need more room to fit staff, equipment and stock. But often the hard part of accepting that your current premises are too small is the prospect of having to look for new premises – or fund an expansion. 

So before you invest, you need to consider your options; should you stay and renovate or should you look for a new commercial space? Once you have made your decision you need to consider the full financial implications of taking on the project.

If you decide to move, you’ll need to cover the cost of paying a deposit, rent, or mortgage. There are also business rates, insurance and utilities to think about. And there are cosmetic aspects you might need to consider investing in such as the look of your premises, including décor, furnishings and equipment. As a first step, consider where you might be happy to relocate to. If staying in the same locality is important, register your interest in a business dwelling with local agents and see whether they currently have anything suitable to your requirements. 

If you want to stay and have room to expand, you’ll also need to raise the additional capital to do so. Seeking business funding is a popular choice when funding a business renovation because the project often requires initial investment up front such as architectural plans and paying builders. 

5. You don’t have enough staff

Your company is growing but perhaps you don’t have enough pairs of hands to handle the new work load? Turning work away simply because you haven’t got the man power to meet demand is not going to achieve growth. 

If you’re going to employ more staff, you need to consider your business’ space and if you have the right equipment for new starters. You’ll also need to do the math to see if you can cover other expenses such as salary and pension schemes. You should also think about having enough money to invest in staff training and development. It can be very easy for small business owners to overlook training and development, especially if there are pressures on time and money. But investing in staff training will help to boost staff morale and experience, as well as giving you a powerful advantage over your competitors. 

Whilst many business owners cut costs in other areas to fund a new hire, many businesses chose to seek out financial help to cover the initial costs of getting someone else set up in the business. If the new hire is to help meet growing demand, the capital investment will be paid off once the new member of staff is helping to boost orders or customers. 

6. When your marketing isn’t driving business 

When you first started out as a small business you might have done the marketing yourself. To begin with, this might have been manageable, but as you grow, you might find your marketing is rushed and not as considered as it used to be. If you feel that your business is slowing down or not going where you’d like it to go, it might be best to go back and re-examine your marketing strategy. 

If your business has a website, ensure that your website doesn’t look like it was designed in the early nineties and that all your contact details are up to date. Does your company have a blog? If it does, make sure you regularly update it, as this is a useful way to attract more traffic to your site. If you have social media accounts, bring your profiles up to date and don’t forget to update your accounts with content. 

Maybe you don’t even have a long term marketing strategy? Without knowing where you’re going you’ll simply never get there! If you don’t feel like there’s anybody on your team who has the right skill set to put together a long-term marketing strategy then it’s definitely time to start investing in somebody who does.  

7. You’re lacking innovation

 In order to stay ahead of the curve, you need to be innovative. Small businesses need to apply this concept more than ever if they want to compete against larger businesses with bigger budgets. 

As part of your business model and growth strategy, there comes a time where you need to let innovation and new ideas lead the way. The level of innovation depends upon your business but this might include things such as research and development, usage of technology or the creation of new products or services. 

If you are at the point where innovation could be crucial to your business growing, then you might need to seek out additional funding for your ideas to materialise. 

Once you realise you’ve a business investment to make, you must find the money to fund it. Don’t put off making the needed changes to your investment because of your financial options. If you don’t have the money available you might turn to the bank, or your friends and family, or seek alternative finance solutions like a business cash advance. With alternative finance providers like Liberis, investing in your business can be possible.

The Liberis Cash Advance - designed to help UK SMEs
  • Apply in minutes for £2,500-£300,000 and if successful see funds within as little as 24 hours
  • You pay back only when you earn – no fixed monthly payments
  • You keep 100% of your cash income
  • One clear cost, no APR
  • No fees, hidden charges or penalties. Ever
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Liberis is a responsible financial provider. Liberis does not offer 'short-term loans'. The minimum expected duration of a Business Cash Advance is 120 days / 4 months and typical expected durations are 6-12 months. These business financing products are not consumer loans.