Business basics: Top tips for growing your business
Once you’ve set up and established your business, your thoughts might turn to going for growth, but how do you take it to the next level?
There are many possible measures to achieve growth which can be written into your long-term business plan, if they’re not already.
Here are a few ideas which might help you on the path to growth in your business.
Regularly review your prices
Regularly check your prices against your competitors and don’t be afraid to put them up once a year or so. Don’t price yourself so low that you can’t realistically make a profit, but equally you don’t want to miles out from the competition. It could be though that customers are willing to pay more than you are charging them. Small changes like loyalty schemes for repeat business or bulk buy discounts could be all you need to start taking those tentative steps towards growth.
Increasing sales either by selling more to existing customers, or attracting new ones, is of course a key part of any growth strategy.
Existing customers - An easy place to start is with the customers you already have. This could be a simple case of improving your sales records and creating databases of customers which you can use to communicate with them.
As long as you have sought permission from customers to contact them for this purpose (in accordance with data protection and new GDPR rules), you can thank them for their service, contact them about new products or services and offer discounts.
Think about converting one-off customers to repeat customers, regaining customers you haven’t heard from for a while and selling more to your regular clients.
New customers – It’s always worth trying to widen your reach and attract new customers. Consider your marketing strategies and how and where you spread the word about your business. Local media, trades media and social media are all possible outlets, as well as good old-fashioned word of mouth – asking your customers to recommend you to their friends – and business networking.
If your business isn’t online, then selling via the internet could also be a new avenue to explore.
Expanding products and services
Developing new products and services to complement your existing offer could be the next logical step in your growth plan. There may be a product or service that is a natural progression for your business - assuming the demand is evident in the market along with the possibility of a realistic return on investment.
Or growth could simply come down to investing in more equipment or materials that will enable you to increase your output of existing products and services, such as buying an additional van, or piece of machinery.
Expanding into new markets
The next natural progression for your business could be expanding into new markets beyond the UK. There is lots of help and advice available from the Department for International Trade if you’re thinking of exporting.
Expanding your workforce
Whether you’re a sole trader employing for the first time, or a larger company - hitting the next level could be a simple case of taking on additional staff in order to increase capacity and volume of sales or services.
One possible way of doing this could be to take on an apprentice and there’s lots of advice and support out there if this is something you’d like to explore further.
Whatever methods you feel might be worth exploring, growing a business typically involves some form of investment.
It could be that you have the money in your business to reinvest, but you might need to turn to external investors – and there are various possible funding options for securing this.
Looking for finance is no longer a simple case of going to see the bank manager and nervously waiting for a yes or no. There’s now a thriving market of alternative lenders out there, offering a variety of different products for different businesses and scenarios. As well as business loans, there’s also things like invoice finance, asset finance for new equipment, merchant cash services and revolving credit facilities to consider.
Eligibility criteria may vary depending on the lender, so it’s worth doing some research before applying for anything. Our sister company Funding Options could help if you need assistance getting matched with the right form of finance and the right lender.
Other options for raising finance could include looking at Government funding schemes or selling shares to investors.