4 Steps to Maintaining Small Business Growth

A staggering percentage of small businesses don't make it to their 5th birthday. Read our handy hints on how to maintain small business growth.

4 Steps to Maintaining Small Business Growth

The rapid growth phase of any start-up is a white-knuckle ride for even the most seasoned business minds, but maintaining an upward growth curve can be just as tricky.

More than half of the brave folks who start a new business don’t make it beyond the five-year mark, according to research from insurer RSA. Ouch.

As start-ups the odds are stacked against us, so we feel we should share some of our own wisdom with the aim of helping as many businesses as possible reach their 6 th birthdays and beyond.

Get on top of your costs

A shortage of staff to handle the many tasks associated with starting and maintaining a business is a problem that’ll be all too familiar to entrepreneurs and business owners. Essential elements like recruiting and book keeping are incredibly costly if you rely on accountants and agencies, so you need to find alternative options to keep costs down.

When it comes to organising your books, you don’t actually need to hire an accountant. If you’re smart about it you can get around this unnecessary overhead by making use of cloud accounting platforms such as SageOne or Xero. These allow you to manage your accounts and payroll from one, easy-to- navigate interface and it costs only a fraction of what you’d have to pay for a professional. Don’t be afraid of doing your own accounting – it’s really not as complicated as you think.

When it comes to recruitment, avoid the bigger recruitment agencies wherever possible. They charge very high rates and a great deal of commission, and they often don’t quite understand what type of people will be the perfect fit for your company. As CEO, it’s a good idea for you to get out into the market and do some digging yourself. Headhunting and tempting out people who are already excelling in their current role is a slightly more time-consuming but much more cost-effective method of recruiting. Plus, you’re more likely to end up with somebody who is well suited to your business.

Get the right funding

You’ll have heard the news that big banks who refuse funding to small businesses are now required by law to refer them to another lender who can help. This was obviously a high-five moment for SMEs everywhere, however you need to make sure the funding you’re getting is the right kind of funding for your business’ needs. Whether it’s a bank loan, overdraft, credit card or alternative financing, the nature of your business will dictate which type works best for you. Invoice financing, for example, is a great funding alternative for businesses that deal with a lot of invoices and lengthy payment terms. Invoice financing software like ours allows small businesses to unlock vital capital from unpaid invoices in just an hour or two – capital that can then be fed back into the business where it is most needed.

It’s also vital that you get out into the investment market and hold a few face-to- face meetings with potential investors. Investment funding can mean the difference between your business surviving or failing, so get out there and start talking. Networking events are fantastic for meeting influential people who can help you grow your business to the next level.

Keep an eye on your competitors

Your competitors might be doing a lot of new and exciting things that are helping them grow and succeed, so you need to be aware of these in case they’re doing something you could also be doing. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of a recce on your closest competitors on a regular basis to make sure you’re not missing any tricks that could help boost your own growth strategy. It’s also just as useful to spot the mistakes your competitors are making, so you can make sure you don’t fall into the same traps.

Evaluate and re-evaluate

Whether it’s every week, every month, or every quarter, you need to be constantly evaluating and re-evaluating your targets and progress to ensure you’re heading in the right direction. The more often you do this, the more likely you are to spot the areas of the business that are working and the areas that are not, and make changes accordingly. We use an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system which allows each and every member of the business to set their own individual targets which all work towards one main business aim. These targets are evaluated every quarter so we can see what’s working and what isn’t. It’s a method tried, tested and trusted by Google, and it really does work!

There are lots of ways you can boost and maintain the growth of your small businesses, but these four steps underpin a lot of your future success. If you want to know more about funding in particular, give us a call on 0161 710 2540 and we’ll help you decide if invoice financing is the right move for you.

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