When we think of growing our business, we often get caught up in the negatives that this may entail. For example, will we have to raise extra capital, take on expensive debt, or up our headcount? All of these can put an unnecessary damper on the prospect of growing your business, but the truth is that there are many ways in which you can grow that don’t involve extra staff or extra borrowing.
6 Fresh Tips To Help Drive Your Business Forward
- Keep that cash flowing freely– Cash is the lifeblood of any organisation. In normal times, a healthy cash flow makes sure that your staff and suppliers are paid – and there’s a modest profit on hand in the bank to re-invest in the business. But at times when you want to grow your business, it takes on an even greater significance. Getting every ounce from your cash flow can be the difference between borrowing or not borrowing.Many companies wrongly believe that there is little they can do about their cash flow. “This is the way our clients have always paid”, is a common complaint. But what would happen if you offered them a discount for early bird payments, for example. The 1% you might offer for payment before the due date could be worth many tines this amount in the borrowing costs you might avoid. Another tip is to make sure that your accounting software has built-in functionality to chase cash. Issuing an invoice is one thing, but getting paid promptly is something else entirely!
- Don’t hire too many of the same staff – It’s tempting to think that the ten people with the same skills set that you already employ should be the template for all future hires. But best practice suggests that you look to diversify your staff in terms of their skills. It can give you a broader customer offering for your clients, and remember that if you run short on your ‘traditional hires’, you can also plug that gap in the short-term by hiring contract or freelance staff.
- Learn from those who’ve gone before – There’s never been an easier time to network with your peers. All over the country, groups of like-minded individuals – from your own industry and lots more besides – come together regularly to share their experiences, swop knowledge and learnings, and act as an unofficial support group for each other. It’s an excellent way of keeping up with what’s happening in the business world, but also protects owners or managers from a sense of isolation that they may be experiencing. The fact of the matter is that any problem you’re facing has already been faced by thousands of others, so it makes sense to learn from their experience. In some cases, you don’t even have to physically turn up for a network meeting, as they happen online. If you’re not already part of a network, why not put it on your ‘To Do’ list?
- Don’t leave growth to chance – When most of us first set up our business, we do so on the expectation that it will grow over time, delivering greater cost-efficiencies and a greater level of profitability. But like any other facet of your business, growth must be planned for. Otherwise, your company can suffer no end of growing pains, and can even put the existence of your company in jeopardy.By planning your growth – which often means reining yourself in – you can make sure that your current customers are not in any way affected by your drive for new business. And if there are physical aspects to growth – such as bigger premises or new equipment or machinery – you need to be very clear as to the extra demands that this will place on the business. And having your bank fully on board before you press the button makes real sense, of course. Financial institutions look far kindlier on expected cash flow consequences of growth than on unexpected results of unplanned growth.
- Turn to software to free up your staff for more profitable work – When we talk about getting the most from your software, we’re not restricting ourselves to things like payroll software or small business accounting software. You can also access software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that will help you develop and manage a sales pipeline.Similarly, software can help you manage your stock levels simply and easily, or link to an online booking engine, for example. The best accounting software to consider is a solution that can grow with you, letting you scale up without any major new expenditure. Sage 50c is an excellent choice in this regard.Sourcing accounting software for small business may take slightly longer than you budgeted for, but we strongly recommend that you invest time at the outset to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need to satisfy both todays needs and your likely needs over the next three to five years.
- Boost your online presence – The days are long gone when having a website was proof that you were serious about promoting your business. The explosion in social media has meant that your online presence often needs to amuse, inform and surprise – not just present a boring menu of the services you provide. You need to impose your business onto the online conversations that are happening in your locality, your sales areas or your market sectors.The secret is consistency. It’s pointless being very active for a week and then ‘gong silent’ for a month. Companies that do well on social media tend to be those who schedule their activity each day – and it soon becomes second nature to them to post their morning or evening contribution.You may not be overly familiar with the workings of social media, but the chances are that quite a few of your staff are. So why not make it part of someone’s job description to handle your social presence? It’s just another way of getting the best from the skill set of your staff!
Sage 50 Accounting Software can help your business to move forward