5 Ways to Grow Your Small Business
From utilising technology to overseas expansion, here are key methods that will help your small business scale and succeed
Small businesses are growing every year and with technological innovations, new finance options and increasing support enabling the development of all types of enterprises; it is essential that you remain on top of these advantages, and focus on expanding and scaling your own small business.
Getting your small firm to the next level involves planning and implementing a growth strategy. Here are five things you should consider when trying to facilitate and manage growth in your small businesses.
Harness the power of technology
Effective use of technology lies at the heart of many successful business growth strategies. Many small and medium-sized companies have been able to use cloud-based technologies to give them capabilities that were previously the preserve of large corporations with big IT budgets, while others are leveraging mobile technologies and big data to boost the productivity of their employees and access new customers and markets. By pre-empting rapid growth you can actually put the systems in place to help you manage surges in demand and growing complexities.
Offer mobile and flexible working to staff
By law, all businesses must now offer flexible working arrangements to staff – and research has shown the growing importance to the workforce. More than half of employees (57%) say the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them, and an increasing amount of people have adopted flexible working in the last three years. Flexible working can empower your staff and increase productivity by unchaining employees from their desks, as well as allowing for more efficient use of space and reduce overhead costs.
Close the mentoring gap
Small businesses in the UK could double their chances of increasing their turnover by using a business mentor – yet many organisations are not utilising one. A business mentor offers an outside perspective as well as experienced and knowledgeable advice, and they can help you to plan growth and push you to success. Furthermore research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more – double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs. Check out Startup’s feature on why a mentor is crucial to find out why you should have one and what type of mentor is right for your business.
Don’t miss the boat on exporting
Exporting not only leads to greater revenues and improved profits, it can also diversify risk because you are selling to a number of countries and are no longer reliant on a single customer or the domestic market. Whilst exporting is not a silver bullet for business growth, an export drive should be a consideration for firms in their quest for expansion. For more information on expanding into new markets in order to help your business grow, check out our sister site’s growing overseas section.
Explore alternative routes of finance to fuel growth
With many business owners turning their backs on traditional routes of raising finance, technology has opened up a whole range of doors for connecting firms with potential investors. One such route is crowdfunding – where funding a project or venture through raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically through the web and offers you an opportunity to engage with audiences, market your firm and perhaps test the market’s reaction to a new product or service before you launch it. Alternative funding routes can also introduce your firm to savvy investors that can add a huge amount of value and experience to your business beyond finance.For other alternative finance routes, check out our list of possible funding options here.
For further information and tips on strategies, finance and managing expansion, have a look at Startups’ section on growing a business.
This article was contributed by Rob Davis, head of technology, Sage UK Small and Medium Business Division