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Growing your small business

If you're looking at ways of growing your small business, this article is full of useful tips and hints for success.

You will learn

  • How to monitor your cash flows during business growth
  • Ways of keeping your staff up to date
  • About growing your business online

Are you happy with the development of your business to date? Have you thought about growing your small business?

Many owners want their business to be better but does that always mean bigger? Ambition and enthusiasm varies at different times in your business journey and you will need to ensure you have the right management and leadership skills to achieve them. Successful businesses recognise this and invest in their own development up-skilling and engaging with mentors to work with them to get the strategy right.

One of the biggest obstacles to growing your small business is often your own mindset. You will need clear vision and understand your personal and business goals and what is driving you towards your objectives. Once you have this, you must be able to share your vision and inspire others to share the same.

Growing your small business can put pressure on cash so the importance of your cash flow forecast cannot be over emphasised. Monitoring it closely will help identify your ability to fund the growth and if funding is required will give confidence that repayments can be made. Solid finances underpins healthy growth for your business and the evidence of this will give you confidence.

If you are employing additional staff to help with your growth, ensure they are fully aware of your vision, values and objectives. Investing in the right person for your business is vital and keep them involved at every stage of the development. Inclusive management works better as it ensures the same message is being communicated to employees, suppliers and of course the all important clients. New people can bring fresh ideas and can contribute to your business growth. Check out our tips for developing and using business values here.

Update your business plan, regular assessment enables you to measure progress and test your development strategy. Are you achieving your goals? Are you using your strengths to make the most of your opportunities? Reconsider where you want to be this time next year and how you are going to get there.

When growing your small business, monitor your products and services, get feedback from existing and previous clients and importantly keep up to date with your competitor analysis, they could well be leaving you behind and you don't know it. Market research is vital to ensure you are delivering the right products, at the right price in the right place. 90% of business comes from existing products to existing customers so think how you could sell more to them. Thorough market research you can identify if there is the potential to increase your range of products or services that they are looking for. Get more advice about researching your market here.

However, you will need to look for new customers, never become over-reliant on who you perceive to be loyal customers. The more customers you have the more you spread the risk. Think about setting some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), target setting is a great driver for growth.

Can you earn more from existing customers? Extending your product range or selling bundled goods can have a great impact on business growth. Your customers already buy from you because they recognise the value you provide so the hard work has already taken place. Up sell, but do it subtly. We can help you develop your marketing strategy when you're growing your small business that you can look at here.

Introductory offers are great, however, you need a plan in place to then keep the new customers loyal.

Growing your small business online can be a great place to start. Could you sell digitally? If not, you can certainly promote yourself there. Using social media to point potential customers to your website is cost effective, make sure to check out our tips for increasing customer loyalty on social media. Ensure your website is user friendly, informative and up-to-date this can boost your profile, give customers confidence and therefore increase sales. Networking works, meeting new people gives you new ideas as well as an opportunity to trade with those in the room, don’t forget, you never know who they will know and can refer to you. Take a look at our free guide to become a networking pro here.

It can be difficult taking your business to the next level as experience, knowledge, confidence and skills can be limiting you. External knowledge and investment are vital, engage with a mentor or use a consultant.

Any business has the potential for growth, often the constraints are with the ambition and capability of the owner, however by having a solid business plan, control of the finances and the willingness to seek advice and support you will achieve your goals.

So to summarise with 4 top tips:

1. Innovate - think outside of the box, change the offer, respond to market research and exceed client expectations.

2. Determination - if you know it's right for you, have the tenacity to keep with it. Learn from mistakes, if you fall at the first hurdle it is just the next step to success.

3. People - recruit the right person, this does not always mean on qualifications, they need to have the right attitude to help drive the business to achieve it's goals.

4. Communicate - this means listening as well as sharing knowledge. Build up a rapport with everyone you come into contact with, including your competitors.

Good luck with growing your small business, and we look forward to seeing your name in lights.

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Written by:

Heidi Green

Senior Business Adviser

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