TOP 11 WAYS TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
In this article, we will provide an overview of some of the alternative ways to grow your business.
Business growth is one of the skills any entrepreneur has to learn to keep the dream alive.
Contrary to some of the avenues for advice, we will provide advice based on some of our own findings and feedback received from other businesses since we were incorporated in 2017.
We will start with something that should be simple, but often isn’t…simply put, your business needs to sell more products and or services in order to grow.
Now in the UK, at the time of writing this the waters of the economy certainly appear to be a little choppier than they have been in the past, perhaps even more so since the upheaval the Coronavirus lockdowns had, as the Government backed loans and wider support has ended with the exception of the super deduction on new business equipment purchased.
So, while the feedback we have received is that companies are interested in selling more, they are also remaining cautious when it comes to taking on additional spending e.g., the acquisition of new marketing tools and platforms.
CUT COSTS WHERE POSSIBLE
Carefully reviewing the cash outflows your business has can be a good place to start.
Are all of the support contracts your business has in place absolutely necessary? Do you have a supplier that isn’t performing? Maybe negotiate to implement a service-level agreement so that if they do drop the ball, it then provides you with more options on how to deal with it.
That ream of paper you keep getting from that supplier, can your business manage with a cheaper recycled option?
For the prints you make, can your printer print duplex so you use each side of the paper?
Does that email need to be printed out?
Still, using a landline phone? Could you switch to a VOIP solution to save more money?
You get the idea. Cutting costs and increasing sales can pay dividends quickly.
DON’T HAVE SO MANY MEETINGS!
According to The Harvard Business Review:
“We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.”
Let’s face it, most employees feel their line manager is occasionally full of hot air, maybe there’s something in it.
Instead, where can you reinvest your team’s time and focus? While we have already suggested many businesses are seeking to reduce their spending on business project management tools, some, like the wonderful Trello are completely free. Tools like this make it easy to assign tasks and keep your development projects on track and make tracking accountability in your team easier to manage by allowing you to set due dates etc.
FACTS SURROUNDING MEETINGS:
- 50% of all meetings are considered wasteful or unproductive
- Almost two-thirds (60%) of employees say they are concerned that more important tasks may be building up while they are spending time in unnecessary meetings.
- Nearly three quarters (a massive 73%) of employees admit to secretly doing other work in meetings.
- Nearly 100% of people admit to daydreaming (91%)
- Almost half (45%) feel overwhelmed by constant meetings
Source: Independent research conducted by Hamilton Wood and Company Manchester from 100 companies surveyed.
GET AN EARLY NIGHT
One key way to increase your productivity is to get an early night and don’t skip breakfast!
Getting a good night’s sleep of around 8 hours is vital and helps you stay focused during the day.
TACKLE BIGGER PROBLEMS EARLIER IN THE DAY:
Let’s face it, most of us have at least one important task we keep putting off in favour of those we prefer doing.
Try this instead and tackle the headache task first. Getting it out of the way first will help you set the tone for the day and help you feel like you’re crushing it. Equally, then you will take more pleasure in the tasks you prefer doing and before you know it the task you felt was a problem is no more.
REEVALUATE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS
While we accept there are tens of thousands of loyal supporters for business networking, for some businesses it simply doesn’t work.
There can be a real risk in letting other money-motivated business people get too close to you and your business. Remember the old saying to the nosey parker, “that’s my business?” well, the same could, and should be applied more liberally in business.
If you are currently at a networking group you are probably well aware membership can be upwards of £1000. Take note of how much business you’re getting from the event.
All too often we see business owners get hoodwinked by what appears to be a mirage of business referrals being passed around the room however, has your business benefitted from any new business?
Not only this, but networking events, along with the travel there and back, and then being encouraged to have face-to-face meetings with each other because apparently, “people buy off people they know, like and trust” is again more time out of your business (did you like the last telesales agent that rang you?) Sorry if we seem like the age-old sour puss but our goal is your business’s success.
It’s easy to have your ego tickled at business networking events but is that half a day every week plus the time out going to meet other directors is it really an effective use of either of your time? If they want a chat, pick up the phone. It’s cheaper and you’ll get much more done.
While we understand this may go against the conventional wisdom that certain growth specialists spout, remember the stats, most businesses fail by their second year. Even more than that by their 3rd year and to get to the 5th year trading is the holy grail for many.
Money-hungry people often don’t care about ripping your ideas off and history tells us that sadly, humans, even friends can and will screw each other over where money is concerned. Be careful and keep your circle tight is all we are saying. Remember, we are on your side.
LOOK AT WAYS TO SAVE TIME AND INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
Time is the biggest resource any of us have. Do you want to waste it stuck in traffic or are there ways you can double up and use your time more efficiently?
What we mean by this is simple. Instead of reading that book, download it as an audiobook and listen while in your car or on a treadmill.
Can you eat your dinner while you catch up with your project manager etc?
Be creative. We recommend not following what everyone else is saying because maybe, that’s why so many businesses fail.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN SILENCE
We liken the world of business to the modern version of the gold rush from days gone by. It is human nature to want more. A new house, a new car etc. and as stated, if a business owner sees your business doing very well, do you think the owner of that business is going to keep flogging their own dead horse or do you think that a potential tendency for greed and material possessions may influence them in trying to copycat your business?
It’s happened to us, so much so that half of what we do we do not post online and only discuss with loyal customers.
If a business owner sees what you are doing and knows too much of what you’re up to, then copycats will appear.
Even worse than that, your product and/or service can then become a commodity which invariably means profitability reduces as there will always be someone somewhere who is ready to try and undercut you, however, remember that a cheaper price sometimes can cripple your business especially if the grade of material or skills are of lesser quality.
MAYBE RECONSIDER YOUR ONLINE MARKETING
We liken the internet to the high seas of old where pirates abound.
Remember there is the age-old fallacy that being at the top of google is some sort of mystical place like the business will just roll in; it doesn’t.
Not only that but being overly vocal attracts perhaps unwanted attention. We know many UK companies outsource to the rapidly growing tech centres in India, The Philippines and so on but so far, all we have witnessed is that foreign entities will seek to replicate your business and its website, ripping profitability out of your sector whilst also leaching revenue out of the UK.
Your perfect customer for most businesses is not hanging around on Twitter unless of course they have been to a conference or they have run their own seminar. Sorry if that goes against the grain of what the ‘experts’ have told you but all too often people are all over social media and have not yet realised that by and large, it hasn’t brought them a wave of new business.
MAYBE RECONSIDER APPLYING FOR SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS
Remember, TIME is your biggest ally. If what you are doing is working, do more of it simple!
Government Grant Funding schemes are not quick processes. One such funding round took one of our customers four months and at the end of it they didn’t get the funding, yet interestingly their idea is now in development.
So, with this in mind, always get any of your ideas and innovations patented for the western world. This is typically around £11,000 but makes it increasingly difficult for people to steal your idea as they did with the firm in question.
DEFINITELY APPLY FOR R&D TAX RELIEF
R&D Tax Credits are one of the most advantageous ways for a Limited business to strengthen and fortify its operations.
R&D eligibility can be complicated to work out. As a rule of thumb, if your business has spent money trying to improve what it does in a new way, then there may be elements of the project that may have elements therein that may be recoverable but, to be on the safe side it is always recommended to talk to one of our R&D tax specialists by requesting a call back via this web form.
Until 31st March 2023, the SME tax relief scheme allows businesses to recover 33p back in every pound spent seeking innovation. From the 1st April 2023, the SME R&D tax credit rate will fall slightly and be worth just over 18p back in the pound.
You’re probably reading this and thinking ‘big deal,’ but, if business growth is something you are striving for, leave no stone unturned as an average research and development claim is worth over £45,000 back in your business.
If you are still reading this, then hopefully this post has given you an alternative outlook on some of the previous advice you have been given.
Remember, if the majority of people are doing it, it’s normally a sign that it’s the wrong thing to do.
Imagine your business is deep in enemy territory and that you are literally fighting for survival If you were deep in the jungle with enemies all around you wouldn’t get a loud haler out and broadcast your strategy to all f them, would you?