Here are five top tips to help grow your business successfully.
1. Know your current business and retain current customers
The best customers are the customers you already have. Rushing into growth is never a good idea if it takes time and resources away from the customers who are currently paying your bills.
Identify weaknesses in your current offerings: do your current customers feel valued, see your services as good value?Where can you improve?
Can you offer loyalty schemes, discounts and newsletters to remind them that their custom is appreciated?
Raising the profile of your business in the local community and corporate social responsibility initiatives are other useful ways to help to differentiate you from the competition. Get the basics right, and then make them better, and your business will expand organically, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations.
2. Be vigilant with new customers
Credit checks on new customers are vital, as it takes only one major customer collapse to jeopardise your entire business. Protect yourself by agreeing clear credit terms up front and conducting rigorous credit checks on new customers. Using systems like Red Flag Alert to monitor customers and perform financial health checks can help to provide extra protection against bad debtors.
3. Marketing is key
Another way for an SME to grow is to fine tune its marketing. Marketing is a complex and multi-layered discipline, but growing a business means having a thorough marketing plan with targets and a budget firmly in place.
4. Cash-flow is crucial
You don’t want your cash flow to slow to a trickle so be sure to issue invoices promptly and chase up any debtors. Be careful with stock management by negotiating longer credit terms with suppliers and shorter ones for customers. Being tough with late paying customers by imposing late payment charges will help to encourage prompt payment and cover costs incurred.
5. No quick fix
Growing a business takes time and effort. Are you confident there is real demand for your goods and services? Do you know what competition exists, their market share and what price point you need to position your goods/services at in order to make a profit? In fact, the sort of in-depth homework you did when setting up your business needs to be reviewed at least once and year and done from scratch for any new market you enter.
Not one of these steps is hard to do on its own. The key to growing a small business into large successful organisation is doing all the steps together.