Business growth goals for 2019

With the end of 2018 in sight, there’s no better time to start looking ahead to what 2019 may bring. Creating business growth goals and planning how you’ll implement them is a great way to mark the start of a new year in business. Here, our experts discuss how you can make your business more profitable, productive and successful:

Look in to support for your business growth goals

There is a wealth of support available for small or medium business owners. Many people are left wondering ‘what is the catch?’ when they hear what help they can apply for. The truth is, there isn’t one, but it’s important to use it before it’s gone! Whether you struggle to fulfil larger contracts or you need a grant to invest in making your business more profitable long term, if you are based in East Sussex or Kent, you can contact the local growth hub via Business East Sussex. We can connect you with the company or organisation best suited to help with your needs and assist in your business growth goals.

Invest in marketing

All ambitious business plans need a little help to get off the ground. You need to speculate to accumulate as the saying goes – and if you find your referrals or sales have stagnated, marketing can help. Deciding on the right type of campaign depends on your objectives. There’s no need to spend huge budgets initially – start small and keep track of your results. This can help you to determine where you’ve been successful and where budget should be invested.

Be more commercially aware

If you’ve built an SME, you’ll know who your customers and your competitors are. It’s important not to take this for granted though. Keep an eye out for trends and changes in your industry, including things that may affect customer buying decisions or customer ability to buy. It can be easy to get wrapped up in what you’re doing rather than asking what others are doing and how you can do better.

Futureproof what you offer

This is one goal that may seem easier said than done, but with much economic uncertainty on the horizon, futureproofing your business is important. While businesses are being advised to carry on as usual in the face of Brexit, it’s advisable to futureproof where you can. Things you can look at include ensuring you don’t rely too heavily on one area to bring in revenue and identifying future trends. Identifying any potential risks to your business as well as managing existing risks where possible is also advisable.

Tighten procedures & improve productivity

Lax accounting or management can be costly for small businesses. Ascertain where you’re spending money and what’s necessary versus nice to have. Business growth goals may require investment to be fulfilled so cutting unnecessary expenditure is recommended. Improving productivity will also save money long term.

Innovate

Take things back to where it all began and innovate! It’s no secret that innovation is the key to business growth and profitability. Encourage an innovative environment among staff members and identify areas where your competitors may be lacking. This can help to present opportunities to innovate and evolve.

To find out more about support available to help achieve your business growth goals, please contact us our call our business experts on 0844 415 2260.


Start the New Year with a powerful new business plan

A business plan is a useful document for securing investment and accessing support for your company. It’s something that is often associated with start-ups who need to research their market and prove their idea is viable. However, an up to date business plan can help you determine what works for your business, where you can improve and how your market is changing. In this blog, our team of experts offer their advice on creating a powerful new business plan for the year ahead…

Review last year’s business plan

No business should go in to a new year without reviewing the successes and lessons to be learnt from the previous 12 months. Revisit your objectives – did you meet them? If not, why not? Perhaps they changed throughout the year – something in hindsight you may or may not have been able to prepare for. Think about external factors that impacted on your sales – are these likely to continue in to the year ahead? The more reflecting you can do, the better.

Take steps towards growth

Businesses often talk about growth plans, but it can seem daunting to begin to action them. Put practical steps in motion by talking to a support service such as Business East Sussex. Much of the support available to SMEs is free of charge. Discussing your plans and eligibility can show you what options are available.

Update your company profile

Your company profile may not have been updated since the early days of business. If you’ve expanded your products or services or your target market has shifted, it’s worth updating this information. It’s useful for a wealth of things including marketing and hiring new team members.

Tailor your plan to its new focus

An initial plan, created at the start of your company journey usually has to appeal to all manner of people including investors, banks, people working for you and venture capitalists. If you require an updated business plan for a specific purpose, although it’s great to keep the information varied, you can tailor the content to the areas your reader will be more interested. For example, if you’re looking for further financial backing, make sure the numbers add up.

Tidy up the financials

Any solid business plan should cover the financials. As an established business, you should have figures to back up your claims in your new business plan. As an SME you should have more of an idea about income, outgoings and profits meaning you can be more specific and confident in your projections.

Find out more about creating a new business plan or business growth by contacting us.


How to cope with sudden business growth

Sudden business growth can be exciting, but small businesses can find upscaling a challenge if it comes about suddenly. Growing your business is often the ultimate business goal, but it does require you to be adaptable. Here, our business experts offer advice on fulfilling large contracts and coping with sudden business growth:

Have a plan

When business growth comes around suddenly, it can seem easiest to muddle your way through it. Having a proper plan in place can help to ensure things run smoothly from your end, but also help you to provide the best possible products or services to your clients. It can be easy to think short term, but your plan should be sustainable further down the line.

Look at your finances

Finances can be one of the trickiest things to manage as a small business owner. It’s time consuming, but crucial to get right. If your business is expanding, think about all of the additional expenditure you may have. Taking on additional staff and streamlining processes costs money. Keeping track of outgoings and invoices is imperative – be sure to set clear payment terms if you don’t already have them.  Credit checking prospective clients and suppliers can help to give you reassurance about payments. If you need access to funding to support your business growth plans, you can apply for a grant.

Think about operations

Naturally, one of the most important things to consider during expansion is whether you can actually deliver operations wise. What’s more, can you deliver on budget and on time? Be sure that you can manage client expectations where possible and outline what’s expected from both parties and by when. It’s important not to over commit – don’t win big money business but overlook reputation and client satisfaction. Things to consider include whether you need more staff, whether you need to change your processes or automate and update systems.

Be adaptable

When you own a small business it can sometimes be hard to relinquish control and accept that others may have valuable insight to offer about certain aspects of running your company. Instead of being protective over your current way of operating, listening to others can help you see things from a different angle. Growth often requires a level of change and being open and adaptable can help make the process run more smoothly for everyone involved.

Consider who your valuable customers are

It can be tempting to view having as much business as possible to be the goal, but ultimately, it’s better to focus on those customers who bring the most value to your business. Trying to please everyone means you could be unwittingly overlooking those who matter the most to you long term. If you are unsure about any aspects of business growth, you can consult a Business East Sussex advisor who can offer advice to help.

Get your core team in place

Don’t underestimate the importance of a loyal and skilled team in dealing with sudden expansion. Good staff can be hard to find, so thinking about what you can offer employees as well as what they can offer you is important. Think about the skills your business needs that it doesn’t currently have in order to fulfil your growth ambitions. Start with the most pressing need – if you urgently require a specific skillset, prioritise in order of importance.

To find out more about support available please contact us or call 0844 415 2260. If you are an introducer supporting an SME, you can register your interest in our Business East Sussex Connect event to find out more about our services.


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