The UK’s business population is experiencing considerable growth, as the number of private sector businesses rose to 5.6 million in 2021. While many of these businesses are sole traders and freelancers, over a fifth of them are large enough to have employees – a crucial indicator of growth and promise in any start-up. But how does a company grow beyond those first tentative steps?
Weathering the ‘Growth’ Phase
As a start-up grows its reach and customer base, it will eventually find itself with a self-sustaining audience and stable profits. But one of the pitfalls that many small businesses fall into is mistaking profits for cash-flow, which can lead to stalled growth from break-even financials. In this phase, it is vital to follow up initial success with investment; unsecured business loans are a great way for smaller businesses to raise the funds necessary for growth, as no assets are required as collateral.
Of course, any business growth should be meticulously planned out. Vague expenditures will not result in smart growth – targeted investment is of the essence. Understand your operation inside out, and use internal data to intuit the best areas for investment and development. Would outsourcing certain tasks save money over time, or would bringing services in-house increase reliability?
Reviewing Your Offerings
Speaking of services, the core offering of your business is a key consideration as you grow and expand. Products and services inevitably grow dated over time, whether audience appetites change or superior alternatives appear on the market. Even if you provide a niche and irreplaceable service or product, reviewing your offerings and your systems of delivery could help you grow your customer base.
Market research is a powerful tool by which you can inform the above. Surveying your existing customers will give you insights into possible ways you can diversify your business to meet demographic demand, while investment in focus groups can help you develop new products and services. Are there audiences you haven’t yet considered for your existing products? Or new avenues for marketing you can explore to grow engagement with your brand?
Lastly, longer-term funding solutions can help you meaningfully expand your business’ stake in the market. Private investors are a strong way to do this, as entrepreneurial advice alongside significant cash investment can foster and incentivise smart growth, from growing your team to investing in long-term supply or manufacturing solutions. Alternatively, partnership with a company in the same industry could open international channels without the need for crippling individual expenditure.