NatWest confirms increase in UK small business activity
According to the latest NatWest Regional PMI® survey, small business activity in the UK jumped for the first time in six months during March. The positive reopening of business and a strong vaccination programme seems to be having a positive impact. UK small business is growing, but how can you ensure your business rides that wave?
How can you grow your small business? What and who is out there to help you do it? Here are our eight top tips to help you grow your business.
Get a handle on your finances
You could carry out all seven of the tips below, but if you don’t have a good grasp of your finances, it may all be for nothing. Speak to you accountant and let them know that you feel ready to grow your business.
A good accountant will be able to support the growth of your business with accurate cash flow reports. They can also manage payroll and bookkeeping, giving you more time to focus on other things. They can make sure you pay the right tax, and can suggest grants which may be available to you. And if your accountant doesn’t seem to be taking an interest, then perhaps it’s time to hire a new one.
Invest some time talking to your customers. Research the products or services that you are selling. What is it that people like? Is there something you could change that would make them want to buy more?
Perhaps by investing in marketing, you could raise awareness of your business. Using social media is a great way to network and potentially increase sales. By having a clear marketing message about who you are and what your business can do, you will encourage sales.
Look for new customers
Selling to existing customers is an easier task, but to grow your business, you need to find new customers too. Use your marketing budget on social media or ask your valued customers to recommend you. You could ask them to complete a review, with the possibility of winning a prize, for example.
Offer discounts to new customers only and make sure that your website is really selling you.
Offer new products and services
Customer research will give you the chance to find out which products and services are best received and why. What else is it that customers are looking for that you don’t currently offer? If you run a dog groomers, perhaps you could consider selling dog coats and collars, for example.
Review your prices
Are you pricing your products and services correctly? It can be a real challenge to price your business fairly. You might worry that if you raise your prices, you’ll put off customers. But if you don’t charge enough, you cheapen the product and you don’t make enough profit. Make sure you’re charging a fair price, compared with your competitors. And work with your accountant to make sure that you know exactly how much it costs you to sell each product or provide a service.
Staff training and new hires
If you are going to offer new services, you may need to bring new employees onboard. And perhaps you’ll need to provide training to existing employees. If you’re opening another branch or office, you will need additional staff to support any new business you create.
Increasingly, customers are looking online for goods and services. Is it possible to sell your products online? If you’re a fitness instructor, could you create an ecommerce website so that clients can pay for online exercise classes or subscriptions? Having an additional online channel, can increase sales without having to hire additional staff or pay for additional premises.
Get extra small business funding
To really grow, you may need extra funds. You could get a loan, but it’s not the only option. Talk to your accountant and they should be able to suggest a finance adviser, who can go through the options available to you. Perhaps there are crowdfunding options or government grants available that your accountant can help you to apply for.
As your small business grows
Don’t forget that as your business grows, you may need to register for VAT and change the legal structure of your business. Business expansion is an exciting time for your business, but there will be lots of plates spinning. Make sure you seek guidance from your accountant or business advisers where necessary.
About Liz Cordell
I’m an experienced copywriter, with a great attention to detail. Having previously held positions at a global publisher, a top 100 law firm and a Big Four professional services firm, I now work with clients across a range of industries. Whether it’s new content for a website or creating interesting blogs for my clients, I can create engaging copy that doesn’t take a lifetime to read.