If only it didn’t have to be this way. But year-on-year growth is crucial to a business’ success and as such, if you want to see profits rise exponentially and consistently, you always need to be thinking one step ahead. Or two. Or three. Fortunately, you don’t have to move heaven and earth to achieve your goals. With that in mind, we’ve teamed up with SME Loans, who specialise in small business finance, to bring you these; our 5 IDEAL insider tips for growing your business.

ENSURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH FUNDING FOR GROWTH

As the always pertinent saying goes; you have to speculate to accumulate. But the old assumption that high street bank loans and high-interest credit cards are the only sure-fire ways to fund growth hasn’t stood the test of time so well.

You do not need to empty your bank accounts, grovel with the local bank’s loan manager, or max out your company credit cards just to get the money you need to spur on business growth. A great alternative for the modern entrepreneur is the flexibility and affordability of unsecured business loans. That said, it’s important to be aware that you need to handle your debts diligently if your credit score is not pristine; if not you risk further damaging it in the future.

ESTABLISH A GREATER ONLINE PRESENCE

Don’t make the assumption that e-commerce is only for big business. But if you want to start raking in good quality exposure to your target market and start making sales 24 hours a day, an online presence is absolutely essential.

In terms of selling and looking professional, setting up a shopping cart system and secure payment gateway for your website should become a number one priority when trying to drive business growth; it instills trust in the consumer.

That said, it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t over-complicate things when transitioning your standard website into an e-commerce store. Online users like things to be quick and easy so don’t set out to make them think too hard about how to use the system. The last thing you want to do is cause unnecessary obstruction to making a sale.

HARNESS THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

With 45% of the world (a whopping 3.48 billion) now having a social media account and millions scrolling through their feeds at any given moment, it would be financial suicide not to be harnessing the power of the click, constantly and consistently.

While there are plenty of paid options to promote your business on social media, you should only do so with scrupulous tracking of analytics to assess whether the reach of such posts is worth your investment. You might find that you could achieve the same reach via free social media channels; making an Instagram and Facebook page (we all have one, right?) is easy and needn’t cost you a penny. Just ensure your page is captivating and unique, as there’s a pretty massive crowd out there to stand out from. 

Also essential to keep those social media channels active and engaged; the expectation is now for your company and website to be constantly on, engaged and ready to do business. It’s therefore vital to make sure you’re pushing out regular content and marketing yourself succinctly in order to stay relevant and ahead to the pack. There is competition everywhere, and those who don’t keep things fresh and pertinent will quickly be dismissed in favour of a newer, shinier model. Conversely, regular content will instil loyalty in your visitors and attract new custom, too. Remember this; it’s a numbers game first and foremost.

DEVELOP A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Some business owners think that growth is all about making sales and boosting marketing efforts (yep, we know that’s all we’ve mentioned so far…we get it) but looking after your staff and cultivating that sense of being ‘part of the club’ (both your customers and employees) can go a huge way in achieving continued growth.

A happy staff member that feels part of a community and well-looked after will be friendlier, more helpful and more professional – it’s just the way it is – so try to create a close-knit team out of your staff members by incorporating team building days, hiring staff that complement each other’s personalities, and having strict rules of engagement in place for customer service. Spend time developing a sense of community and ensure that when your staff members are out there helping clients and “making things happen” for your business, that they are doing so happily.

VALUE LOYALTY & THE CUSTOMERS YOU ALREADY HAVE

If you find that your business is perpetually seeking new customers, you could be wasting valuable time that should be spent on an audience that is already keen to support you. A huge mistake made by many startups and businesses in their early years is to constantly be on the lookout for potential new clients whilst ignoring the value of repeat custom. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a stable customer base, spend some time focusing on how you can improve your service to them. Consider how you can offer existing customers something new because there will be plenty of other companies wanting to poach them from you with shiny welcome offers and the like. Don’t allow their heads to be turned in the first place.

 

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.