Before going full steam ahead with ramping up business growth, consider what must be done initially to give the best possible chance for success.
If you are considering growing your start-up business, you will need to make sure your business idea is strong enough to support realistic growth.
So, the first thing to do would be to consider the skills that you have, and then figure out whether or not the idea is profitable on a larger scale. If you have an idea for which you feel there may be a wider market, you should take the following steps to ensure that your expansion goes without a hitch.
Do market research
It’s all very well having a business that you think may be scalable, but it is essential to approach this with some certainty. Obviously you don’t have a crystal ball to hand that will enable you to see into the future, but to be sure that your growth is viable, you need to identify your larger customer base and get feedback from them about your business.
This may mean asking them to fill out a questionnaire or just talking to them (try Survey Monkey – a free tool for surveys). Either way, you need to know that your target market wants what you are offering.
Develop your idea
Make sure you have a strong unique selling proposition (USP) and develop it according to your research. Never be afraid to make changes, or to take your USP, or even your initial plans, back to the drawing board, as any weaknesses in your business model will eventually make themselves apparent.
Find partners and suppliers
Even if you plan to continue work alone as a sole trader, your business will no doubt involve working with others, including suppliers and distributors. You need to figure out who these people or businesses are in order to gain an understanding of income and expenditure
Revise your business plan
This needs to set out where your business income will be coming from in minute detail, and will help explain to any future lenders – and not least to yourself – where your money will be coming from in the future. Be as conservative as possible to guard against any drops in sales or productivity and devise a plan covering your projected income for at least the next 12 months.
Following on from the last point about being conservative with your projected income, you need to guard against all kind of adverse eventualities, such as illness and drops in sales. Think about where you might be able to get funds from in an emergency; which leads to the next point…
All businesses need money to grow and you will most likely find yourself continuing to need money months or even years down the line. You can look at borrowing from banks or Angel investors, or this neat little tool from Totally Money is great for helping you find the least expensive ways to borrow money.
For further advice and tips on growing your business, visit the UK government website.