Starting a business and keeping it running is a mighty achievement in itself. Without the backing of huge corporate infrastructure it can be a battle just to keep afloat. Growth is yet another challenge in a SME’s journey, but it is the key to success.
Rapid growth doesn’t happen overnight (with the exception of a very lucky few!), but even in a difficult economic climate, with some careful strategic planning your business can go from strength to strength.
So how can SMEs accelerate growth? Sometimes it pays to go back to basics. We’ve identified some specific areas for attention in order to keep your business moving forward.
Stay focused - on your own business and the competition
Growth doesn’t necessarily mean diversifying. Many companies try and expand too fast into different areas and then struggle to maintain the quality of their product or service.
Figure out your identity as a business and stick with it - and whatever it is you do, do it well.
Research your competitors, find out what they are doing and what they aren’t. Competitive intelligence is the key to staying relevant, noticeable and profitable in any market, so always know what the competition is up to.
You may identify gaps in their offering and be able to highlight your products or services as a better alternative. Keeping an eye on the competition will also give you inspiration for your marketing campaigns and strategies
Put your customer first
Growing your business at the expense of a good customer experience is a short-sighted approach, so make sure customer service is an absolute priority in all your operations.
If you look after your customers they will stay loyal and a loyal customer base is essential to business growth. Word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing tools an SME has, and acquiring new business by referral is one of the quickest ways to grow.
Online connectivity is paramount for SMEs who want to grow, particularly in this post-pandemic world, where everyone is comfortable conducting business virtually.
So while it may seem like an obvious point to make, connectivity 101 is ensuring your internet connection is top notch. Choose a business broadband plan that is robust and fast enough to keep up with your business where it is now, and where you want it to be in the future.
If you are trying to grow your business, it can be a balancing act between taking on new clients and projects and having the infrastructure to deliver on extra commitments.
Outsourcing to freelancers is a flexible way of meeting demand without taking on new employees or having to upskill staff.
This can be done on a fixed price to cover all time, consumables, software and anything else needed to complete the work, so you can increase your revenue without permanently increasing your overheads.
Funding SME growth
To grow any business requires positive cash flow - that is to say, more cash coming in than what is going out.
High positive cash flow allows an SME to invest in their business, such as hiring new employees, purchasing new equipment or ramping up marketing activity.
There are many ways for an SME to access funding in order to grow, these may include loans, government grants, overdrafts, private equity or invoice finance.
Where Penny fits in
For many SMEs, having money tied up in invoices can be a real barrier to growth, even if sales are good. As one of our clients put it “theoretical money does not pay the bills”.
Penny solves this problem by paying your invoices upfront whilst your customers pay on their normal terms.
We don’t believe any business should be held back because they are waiting to get invoices paid and we’re here to help you accelerate growth and get where you want to be.