Ways to aid business growth for SMEs
Business start-ups entering the marketplace are rising exponentially year on year, many of them lone-person firms with a business growth objective. So when the time is right for business growth, what solutions are available to help?
Outsourcing – for business growth, investment in additional resource is usually required. If a business is growing suddenly to meet demand, a good solution to the increase in resource requirements can be to outsource. Activities suitable for outsourcing can be anything from administrative services to professional or labour services. Outsourcing tasks that would ordinarily take up valuable time, such as management accounts or budgets and forecasting, can be a great way to free up the business owner’s time to concentrate on other areas such as customer care or expanding the goods or services offering. Outsourcing can be an interim or long-term solution – and is a low commitment way of getting extra resource into the business when needed.
Delve into customer care and feedback – good customer service is fundamental for business growth, so taking time to really focus on what the business is doing right and where it isn’t hitting the mark is vital in growth strategy. A business is nothing without its customers, so taking the time the lay the right foundations from which to build the next phase of the business is crucial. Build on what customers love, and work to address what they don’t. It is always easier to grow business from existing customers than win new customers, so listening to what they want is extremely important. Conduct regular customer feedback exercises to keep on top of customer care.
Investing in technology – spending time on onerous business tasks that can be handled efficiently by technology makes no sense at all, particularly when trying to focus on business growth. Technology is at our fingertips and is designed to make our lives easier, so consider investing in technology that will help the business reach the next level. This could be anything from software to automate areas of the business that can be automated, or accountancy software to digitise processes such as expenses recording and claims filing, and invoice generation.
Tapping into alternative funding sources – gone are the days when bank lending was the only source of finance for businesses. With a plethora of alternative funding sources – from peer-to-peer lending and crowd-funding to private equity or even friends / family borrowing – the bank doesn’t need to be the first port of call. There will still be a requirement for a sound business growth plan and good accounts though, so it is still wise to keep on top of these to secure funding from any source.