The business of growth

 

Over the years, economies worldwide have seen a significant increase in entrepreneurial ventures. Several of the world’s most lucrative businesses were sparked by one great idea. The idea was put into action, nurtured over time and grown into a fully-fledged company. Most of these companies started small. This may not be your objective; you may just be in it to be the owner of a small and successful business or wanting to affect change in our economy and positively impact the employment rate. Whatever your objective, scaled growth and the maintenance thereof, are vital for survival.

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A study conducted in the UK found that SMEs contribute more than £200bn a year to the economy, with this number expected to grow by almost 20% by 2025. The study shows that 22% of businesses require funding to maintain business as usual, while 5% need financing to survive past the first year of business.

Business growth is multifaceted; here we will discuss a few of the ways in which to grow your business:

Timing:

The timing of your offerings must be spot on within the marketplace. If the market is not ready for your offering, you will need the resilience and perseverance to make it work. If you are way ahead of the curve, you will need the resources to ride the wave. Alternatively, you may need to adjust your offering slightly to accommodate your customer’s current taste. The benefit of being an SME is that you are more agile than a larger business and could implement these changes rather efficiently.

Brand:

However, you choose to execute this; you will need to ensure that your offering is memorable. It requires you to provide the customer with a brand-specific experience, or they will start looking elsewhere. This need not be over the top marketing gimmicks, but just a thorough plan to show customers the value of your brand.

Sales:

Yes, this may seem quite an obvious requirement for a growing business, but remember growth is nothing, if not managed correctly and thoroughly prepared for. The idea is not to just have repeat business with the same customers but to grow your company’s base into new and untapped audiences. This requires research and also listening out for what your customer base needs. Innovation is a large part of the sales.

Technology:

As a small business, if you can identify a genuine need, technology likely exists to fulfil that need both locally and globally. There will be a few barriers to entry in an age where anyone with wireless can cheaply and quickly access the enabling technologies needed to execute their business model. It comes down to creating the right operating blueprint that connects the dots between your business model and the application of accessible technologies.

De-stress:

Yes, de-stress! Take time out to burn off the negative energy that may accumulate as a business owner. Operating and managing a small business has been found to be twice as stressful as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as stressful as raising children, and more than four times as stressful as managing their personal finances. As a business owner, if you are not happy and healthy, you are less likely to create a positive market experience.

Alternative funding:

Access to capital is a critical factor for SME growth. A continued focus is needed on providing programmes to help SMEs scale up. If this is not treated as a matter of great importance, the economy will most certainly be negatively affected long term.

The sad reality is that a lot of business owners are not aware of the various avenues of funding available to them.

Three behavioural barriers linked to the failure of securing capital:

  • A lack of awareness of alternative sources of finance.

  • A lack of financial expertise required to assess alternative sources for a borrower.

  • A lack of confidence in the ability to secure alternative forms of finance.

A common misconception is that borrowing for business is the slow burn to failure that would lead you to close your doors ultimately. On the contrary though, with an efficient business loan, almost any enterprise can see immediate growth as long as they use the additional capital wisely.

It goes without saying that it takes a lot to build and sustain a successful business. We may need to do a few more things in conjunction with the points listed above to solidify business growth. The task at hand is hard and will require constant learning and recreating to ensure that it is the right path for you and your business.