Starting a company is exciting. You get the freedom you’ve always wanted, whilst doing something you’ve always been passionate about. It really is a win-win. On the flip side, it can also be extremely stressful, especially when trying to figure out how to grow your business.
One of the hardest parts of creating and running a business is helping it expand in the right way. But you don’t have to approach it alone, to help you out we’ve collected some expert advice on how to go about, successfully and safely building your business from the ground up.
Craig Rutherford, director of Refused Car Finance, highlights the importance of keeping an eye on operational costs and profit levels at all times.
“Any quick expansions will have an effect on your overall costs in the short and long term. Keep focused on your business objectives and ask yourself exactly why you need to expand. All too often business owners who receive a cash injection instantly want to increase their workforce without crunching numbers before doing so. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on short term profits, and think about your long-term business plan and projected costs.”.
When starting out and considering how to grow your business, don’t oversell your product, says Jason Scott, Digital Marketing Specialist at H&T.
“Too many businesses are trying to sell their products to an audience which simply isn't there. Focus firstly on building an engaged audience by regularly triggering an emotional response. This will often involve giving things away for free, whether that's content (in the form of video, images or text), or even physical products. Once you've got an engaged audience you can then directly market your product - but always be wary of overselling, this may turn your audience off.”
In today’s marketplace, if you’re trying to determine how to grow your business, it pays to ensure your online presence is up to scratch.
“With potential to tap into a global customer base, every penny invested into your website, digital marketing and social media can go much further than in bricks-and-mortar stores. It’s not just about the potential for online sales, either. Modern consumers increasingly research brands online, meaning first impressions often come from your website. And if visitors don’t like what they see, a competitor is just a few clicks away,” says Jonathan Birch at Glass Digital.
“Content is king and I'd highly recommend that businesses host quality resources like buying guides and how-tos on their website. Not only can this help improve search engine visibility, but it attracts potential customers at different stages of the buying cycle.”
Speaking of improving search engine visibility, it’s definitely worth investing some time in search engine optimisation (SEO) to help your website rank for key search terms and increase your inbound leads, says Luke Budka, director at London based SEO and video agency TopLine Comms.
“A solid onsite optimisation strategy - think great content, compelling meta data, logical internal linking etc. - should be supported by quality link building to help your business appear as high up the search engine results pages as possible, when someone searches for a term relevant to your products or services. This will result in traffic consisting of prospects who are interested and ready to buy.”
When you set your company up on social media it’s important to carefully choose your primary platforms to focus on, notes Carolina Solari, Head of Social Media and Blogs at Wix.
“If your target audience is mainly professionals, for example, you might want to explore LinkedIn. Otherwise, if you have an aesthetically appealing product, consider using Instagram or Pinterest. Next, start building a strategy for social branding by finding the right tone of voice and coming up with an effective content schedule. A great way of doing this is by scheduling your posts using tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite and make sure that you spread out your posts throughout the day. It’s important to curb yourself from publishing too many posts every day, as it might annoy your followers and create unrealistic expectations.”
When considering how to grow your business, it is easy to worry about someone stealing your idea. Art marketplace Rise Art says this is not necessary! Shout about what you do to avoid the risk of producing something in secret that nobody wants. Validate your idea early and often.
Neil Parker, Managing Director at DriveDen believes the secret to growing your business is to keep your customers at the heart of everything you do.
“If they can rely on you to give them what they need when they need it with top-class service, success is sure to follow.”
We have an innate ability to over complicate and over engineer life and this certainly applies in business, notes Royston Guest, business growth expert and author of Built to Grow.
“A question I frequently ask to bring the principle of simplicity to life is this: would you describe your business as being like a tugboat or an oil tanker? In the early stages of the life of a business it is fast, agile, responsive, and able to move quickly (the tug boat). The challenge is that over time we start to introduce complexity: additional layers of people in the organisational design, multiple sign-off processes and procedures, reports for the sake of reports, and – perhaps worst of all – bureaucracy that makes it difficult for a customer to do business with you (the oil tanker).”
Great businesses and their leaders are simplifiers, so avoid overcomplicating things in your company.
Rise Art also recommends looking at which government initiatives might be available to help you grow your business.
“Grants, support and investment schemes like SEIS and EIS are important to understand. A little effort here can help you extend the runway of your business.”
There are so many things you can do to make your business a success. While you’re figuring out how to grow your business, you may also need some flexible office space to work from. If this is the case – we can help. We offer a range of business services across our stores including a telephone answering service and a mailbox service.