Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I Want To Grow My Business, What Questions Do I Need To Ask?

Having ambition to grow your business is great, but there are practicalities you need to consider to ensure your growing business doesn't run away with you and leave your growth strategy falling flat.  Here are some key considerations to think about when looking to grow your business. 

What sort of growth is the business aiming for?
A business can choose to grow slow, steady and organically - by selling its existing products to new markets or by selling new products to its existing customers.  Another fast and profitable rapid growth for a business could be by a business choosing to grow by buying another business or franchising their own. 

Have I reviewed my business plan, created a development plan and conducted a SWOT analysis?
It’s crucial for any business to choose the right time grow the business in order to implement a successful growth strategy.  Look at what goals the business has already achieved and those aiming to be achieved.  Performing a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and clearly identifying weaknesses and threats to avoid pit falls and slumps is strongly advisable.   Identifying business strengths and what market opportunities are potentially available are a  good foundation for business growth. The best way for a business to grow is to identify what they do well and then do more of it. 

Has the business yet reached out to a wider customer base, or are we still trading only locally and to familiar customer groups?
For growth you need to target new customers, a new geographical area or create additional distribution channels. Starting trading online if you haven't done so previously could make a huge difference in increasing your business sales.  Selling online could enable the business to reach consumers in other areas of the UK or start selling to overseas customers. This could open up opportunities for the business to expand through creating franchisable model or the business could licence their products to other businesses.

Have I reviewed business cashflow and profits?  
Growth typically requires investing a considerable amount of money which means a business must be in strong financial position and have healthy cashflow and projection for the year ahead. Business growth loans, overdraft and refinance are options available for businesses to help with their growth financial needs, but you will not be able to access these unless you can produce robust cashflow forecasting, a solid business plan and accurate financial records. 

Do we have the right skills, knowledge and experience (people)?  
Businesses aiming for growth cannot do it without reviewing operation capacity, skills, knowledge and experience required to meet the growth need. Businesses might need to recruit and bringing in staff and external consultants in to meet future requirements. The right people can bring fresh ideas which could make the business much more efficient and profitable. Incorporating new technology i.e CRM in the business can drive efficiency by analyzing information and maximising profitability. This will help the business monitor customer drop off and profile which customers the businesses should target and how. This can also help when setting monthly new sales targets and tracking business progress.  it will also help to narrow down which marketing methods are working and those that don't.

How can we step up business promotion?
Revamping and refreshing your business website to work effectively will reflect the business growth profile.  Incorporating digital media practices including building a strong strategic presence on social media is crucial in the current marketplace.  How has your business been promoting its products and services to date?  Are their other marketing methods or additional PR opportunities that you could utilise to expand your reach. 

If you are working in a B2B sector and ready to expand your staff team and build a strategy for growth then The Women's Organisation may be able to offer you some support through the New Markets 2 programme.  For more information contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk

by Business Growth Adviser Huda Mamoun


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