Growing your business
Five Top Tips: How to Grow Your Business
For most business owners, expansion will have been on the cards from the very beginning. Whether it's to meet existing demand or expand your offering, growth is often the next logical step to fulfilling your business’ potential . However, it can be tricky to know when the time is right, what you should be investing in and the scale at which you should be growing.
Here are our 5 top tips - including some from experts who have already grown their own business - on how to grow your business:
1. Build a dream team
To successfully grow your business, you may need to first grow your team. It can be hard, especially if you’ve started with just a handful of people. However, as your business and needs expand, it could be worth bringing some more skills in-house and adding more expertise to your workforce.
Will King, founder and CEO of King of Shaves says: "You need to learn the art of delegating responsibility to great people. Finding great people is the key to success. It frees you up to keep imagining where the business has to be in two to five years. And, you can't do that if you're 'head cook, bottle washer, front of house and security!’”
It’s also important not to forget about your existing staff. Investing in their training and development can help to boost productivity and allow your workers to focus on growing as a team. A happy workforce also results in less turnover which means less time, money and effort spent training new staff!
2. Manage Your Cash Flow
For many businesses, a barrier to growth is cash flow. Keeping track of what’s going in and out of the books and when is essential. This can also help with financial planning and forecasting so you can plan ahead for any purchases, charges, or changes to your business.
Gerard Burke, director of Your Business Your Future Ltd, says: "growth puts strain on cash, that's why more businesses fail when growing than when shrinking; so having a rigorous cash flow forecast and monitoring it closely are key. You must also be able to fund your growth, of course.”
If you’re in need of an extra boost in cash flow, a Business Cash Advance can help to bridge gaps and keep your finances in order. Through the flexible repayment mechanism of a Business Cash Advance - taking repayment only as your customers pay you - this form of business finance allows you to gather the funds you need to invest in promoting growth and help keep your business afloat, even during times of seasonal fluctuation.
3. Expand your offering
While you may already have a great product line, be it serving up a winning menu or offering a fantastic service, expanding on this even further could be key to reaching those growth milestones.
As you grow, you’ll likely have collected feedback from your customers, information on your competitors and already be adapting to external changes in your industry. At times like these, it’s time to think like a customer and diversify what you offer which can help to increase sales and profits and extend your customer base.
Mark Wrigglesworth, Director of The Good Wine Shop, with branches in Chiswick and Kew, says: “it’s important that you have created a successful operating formula before you expand. Increasing your customer base and the volume of the product you sell can only be successfully achieved if you are able to deliver the same consistent standards of service and quality of product your customers have come to expect from your business."
"Be certain how that formula may be tested once you size up in both personnel and logistics. We focused on a more premium market of niche wines as we grew, and stayed away from price driven brands, which coupled with high levels of customer service has helped us to expand.”
4. Invest in technology
These days there's no escaping the technology around us. And in order to stay competitive and maximise the potential of the products and services you offer, investing in technology could mean a giant leap forward for your business. For instance, investing in new accounting or marketing software to help your employees work more efficiently and therefore free up more resource.
As well as enabling you to improve efficiency within your workforce, technology can also help meet increasing customer demands and expectations. For example, installing the latest e-commerce features on your site so that customers are able to easily purchase online, manage orders and personalise their shopping experience with recommendations and wishlists.
5. Partner Up
Once you've started to establish yourself as a business, you may want to consider partnering up with other relevant businesses to maximise your potential and expand faster. Reaching out to other businesses in the community can help broaden your consumer research and allows you to tap into other markets. For example, if your business sells products, you could sell these at another business’s location - such as a jewellery pop-up in an art gallery, or a cheese supplier in a wine shop. Platforms such as AppearHere can help you find these spaces quickly and hassle-free.
Or you could partner up with other businesses for some cross promotion. For example, if you own a B&B you could feature your local restaurant on your website and vice versa. These types of partnerships can help to deliver value for your business for years to come, so the earlier you start networking, the better!
While the thought of growing your business can seem risky, don't forget about what you do best. Having this as a foundation puts you in a strong position to grow your business and continue to deliver what your customers want!