SME 10 GROWTH PATHWAYS
Do you want to grow your business? Here are ten key ways to help you get ahead
Achieving strong and sustainable growth is no easy feat. The best way forward is to device an action plan; here are ten key areas to focus on.
1. Make a sales forecast for a month, quarter, or a complete year
Business growth can be a roller-coaster ride; when sales go up it can throw some parts (like production/customer support/installation) of the business, into chaos. A sales forecast is the best way to set targets, manage cash flow, manage people, and prepare for change.
Businesses often make sales forecasts based on their previous results; but when you are in growth mode, the best approach is to look ahead and assess the realistic chances of converting the prospects in your sales pipeline into solid business.
2. Find a mentor
This is one of the best things you can do. If you want to grow your business or feel stuck in a rut, experienced mentors are a valuable source of expertise and can help you kickstart a growth strategy. They can provide a direction or tips or narrate their experience.
Finding a Mentor isn’t easy. You may need to network and communicate with many people before you strike on to a mentor.
3. Get new funding
The funding landscape has changed in the past few years and the number of funding options for SMEs has multiplied. Loans, as bank loans or traditional equity funding, are often the ‘source of funds. However, modern SMEs are increasingly taking advantage of crowd-funding; Invoice financing, which helps growing businesses to improve their cash flow, is also on the rise.
Looking at Government Schemes, traditional loan approaches or ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking helps in not just funding your project, but also attracts a whole breed of next generation.
4. Fill your skills gaps
A shortage of skilled staff is one of the key reasons that businesses with growth potential fail to realise their ambitions. Your skills strategy should focus on growing expertise within the business as well as recruiting. Another factor to improve skills of your staff is by ‘training’ them in new-age business skills.
Hiring the wrong person can be an expensive mistake, however, so it's important to recruit with care. You can also grow your own skilled workforce by taking on apprentices and offering training to your staff through an expert in the field.
5. Start exporting
If you've got a successful business in India, it's worth exploring whether your business could expand overseas. There's lots of support for would-be exporters at the moment, as the Government has set an ambitious target for exports and surely this is not just an opportunity for the government also a long-term scalability for growth being built into your business.
The best way to start Exporting is to create a GREAT website which has details of business opportunities and also use the necessary links with other ‘chambers of commerce’. They will guide you as necessary for the permissions, conditions, guidelines and related matter for your specific business.
6. Check out compliances
Any business that is compliant with state, national acts and laws, is a natural ‘credible’ certification of an honest business entity. Add to this certain business processes that make the business risk-free and transparent helps a prospective b2b associate gain social benefits.
The growth achieved by compliance and processes seems very small as a percentage, but in the long term perspective, it is worth the initiative as the value of your business gains credible strength and all the stakeholders in the business have a positive opinion.
7. Cut unnecessary costs
When it comes to business overheads the important thing to remember is that things change - there are always new deals to be done or even new ways of running your business.
A monthly spending review is the best way to keep your business lean and efficient. Could you buy in some expertise on a freelance basis instead of hiring full-time staff? Could a digital marketing improve your sales and save you money?
8. Understand your business and its growth capacity
Many Big and reputed business brands have gone kaput, as they could not cope with the onslaught of digital tools. No doubt digital and IoT have penetrated business and personal lives like never before. Hence among the various forms of reaching out – branchising, e-commerce, franchising, distributorship etc. Your list of must-do’s must have ‘alternative business’.
Business growth is a path paved with risks and opportunities. An agile modern entrepreneur delves deeper in to the ‘business opportunities space’ for growth opportunities. An ideal combination of managing existing business and starting a new-age enterprise.
9. Optimise your digital presence & website
This is one job that should always be on your to-do list. When it comes to getting found online and converting interest into income, continual improvements are the name of the game.
Good SEO is a result of the right content presented in the right proportion in the right position. Digital Marketing is evolving every day. If you struggle with SEO, HIRE an expert; it could transform your search results and grow your opportunities.
Show Google that you are living and breathing - and above all relevant - by posting regular new content throughout the year. And if you haven't done this already, make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
10. Get networking
Social media has transformed the way we engage with others but there's still nothing like face-to-face networking for building long-lasting relationships. Make time to get out there and meet new people, at networking events and exhibitions. Not everyone will be a valuable contact but many encounters open the door to new introductions that will be good for you and your business.
Social Networking is not about names or media. Social is about understanding the needs of the consumer in the respective platforms and sharing the content with them.