1. Define your business

Just because you’ve set up a company from scratch, doesn’t mean it’s easy to define its brand identity. But if you’re to grow, it’s essential to put some thought and time into articulating who you are. What are the beliefs and values that are important to your company? How do you want your customers to see you? What makes you different from your competitors? Deciding how to define your business is a vital step in setting your company apart and giving customers a reason why they should choose you.

2.  Map out a route

No matter whether you’re detail-orientated or a big-picture person, it’s vital to map out a growth plan. Your plan can be a simple one-page affair or a full-blown document. Think of it as a blueprint to success which you can refer back to whenever you hit a fork in the road. At a minimum, it should include an outline of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, a vision for what you hope to achieve, and the goals and steps required to take you there. Use this opportunity to tackle issues such as whether you will need to make changes to your supply chain and whether your current premises is suitable to accommodate growth. Also, think about what strategies you need to put in place to protect yourself financially as your business evolves.

3.  Improve your processes

Working smarter, not harder, is a crucial ingredient for growth. An expanding company needs systems that can handle the extra volume and enable outcomes that are consistent and predictable. Review the way you go about tasks like issuing invoices, managing new clients, dealing with customer complaints, record keeping, marketing, shipping products, tracking projects and money management. What can be done to make these processes more efficient? Consider options like developing templates, introducing automation and systemising processes. 

4.  Know your customers

Plan to be proactive with your customers, rather than reactive. The more you know about your customers, the better prepared you are to deal with difficult situations. By incorporating credit reporting into your business routine, you can get a good idea of how risky the customer is to do business with and whether they routinely pay their bills on time. With a SwiftCheck credit report, you can see the creditworthiness of a prospective customer or supplier, and if they are registered and solvent. Each report contains a credit score that alerts you to their level of financial security. Knowing your customers are in a good position to pay you back on time will help generate the confidence you need to expand your business.

5.  Protect your cashflow

Growth doesn’t necessarily mean profitability unless you pay close attention to protecting your margins and cash flow. A business is often vulnerable in its growing phase because the operating costs have increased, but the sales might not yet have jumped up. A firm grasp of your business financials will help you identify in advance when there’s a risk of a shortfall. Your cash position and cash flow metrics should be visible in real-time, allowing you to forecast your cashflow when planning for growth. When taking out a business loan, for example, lenders will take cashflow into account when assessing your capacity to borrow.  

6.  Choose the right talent

Sometimes you have to work less to achieve more. If you’re bogged down with non-core business activities like administration, data entry and content marketing, it’s hard to find the time and energy to plan for business growth. Outsourcing these processes or hiring staff might seem like an unnecessary luxury on a tight budget but if done well, an extra pair of hands can free up capacity for you to pursue new opportunities. It can be hard to let go of any aspect of your business, and that’s why it’s vital not to rush the process of choosing the right talent. Research your options carefully, check referrals and be sure they are the right fit before you go ahead. 

Contact us for more information, or visit the SwiftCheck website.

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