All small business owners wish their growth trajectory was ever upwards. Unfortunately, real business is complex, with
many ups and downs in expansion. A multitude of factors influence and determine small business success, including finance, staffing resources, new competitors and technology.
However, there are a number of easily-manageable factors that have the capacity to change the way your business grows:
According to the Founders Institute, which helps entrepreneurs in technology around the world, there are a number of traits that successful business people exhibit. However, if you’ve just created a mental picture of a young, confident risk-taker, you’ve got it wrong. Not only does it report that experience is an important factor, but it highlights problem
solving, openness, a willingness to challenge the norm, and a balance between agreeableness and holding your ground as ideal personality traits in the owners of expanding businesses. We’d like to add passion and resilience to those qualities to counter the knockbacks that many business owners experience!
By the way, if you’re wondering what the Founders Institute says are the worst characteristics, they include making excuses, aggression, dishonesty and being emotionally unstable.
Growth needs a sufficient cash flow to sustain it. This is perhaps the number 1 barrier in the UK to those expansion ambitions. We’re pleased that the small business finance market has opened up and that alternative products such as business cash advances, peer to peer lending and crowd funding have appeared. In fact, information provided by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills indicates that growing SMEs are less likely to apply for a traditional business loan but more likely to use other small business financing options. In turn, they have fewer problems in accessing the unsecured business lending they need.
On top of that, the ability of the company to use that business cash advance in a structured way is essential. Return on investment is a crucial aspect of any small business owner’s decision to borrow and the difference the money will make should be plotted out carefully to ensure that it has maximum impact.
New products/services or markets
In a recent report produced by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, it was revealed that those UK SMEs that had grown in 2012 were more likely to have launched new products or services and to have found new ways of working/production.
It’s also perhaps telling that 37% of the growing businesses exported abroad, indicating that a good proportion of SMEs are looking for new markets in order to expand their activities.
Small businesses that have a clear plan that defines growth and success over a fixed time period are more likely to bring those ambitions to fruition. During the daily routine, it’s easy to lose sight of the future but a specific strategy with practical action points will keep you on course.
Make sure that you keep the plan pinned right next to your desk or another location where it will regularly catch your attention. Writing a wonderful strategy and then shoving it in a drawer will do nothing for your business growth!
Response to the environment
Research undertaken by Kingston University revealed that small businesses had adopted a flexible approach to managing the recession. Rather than retreat, SMEs were more likely to increase their effort to make sales, find new customers, introduce new products and services and work longer hours than reduce investment, reduce advertising and implement pay freezes.
This shows how determined small business owners are to manage big changes in the economic environment in a constructive manner, despite the challenges in business finance that they can bring. While those small businesses did cut costs in some instances, they demonstrated a flexible and wide-ranging approach to beating the recession.