November 11, 2019 Last updated November 8th, 2019 91 Reads share

A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Your Business

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Read about methods that can help you grow your business

A comprehensive Guide to Growing your Business

Starting a business is extremely complicated as you will encounter numerous challenges, but with consistent effort, effective management, intuitive thinking, and a competitive startup accountant, you can start and grow your business effortlessly.

Once you have started your business and set up a strong foundation for it, you should focus on growing it.

Remember:

Growing your business is like taking care of your child; you must have a suitable environment for the child to grow and nurture in and you must ensure that your child gets the right nutrients for them to thrive.

Helping you with business growth:

This article aims to help you learn about quick strategies that will enable you to grow your business. Here is what you need to know:

  1. You need to know about the types and stages of business growth
  2. It would be best to have a business development plan that highlights your goals and objectives, and your strategy to achieve them
  3. You need to understand the basics of forecasting (demand, cash flow, future profitability)

Types and stages of business growth?

Before you even begin your growth journey, you must identify your end destination by carrying out adequate research. Once done with the basics, you should devise a strategy and set measurable targets. Working with your startup accountant or accountant at this stage can help make things faster and more efficient.

In this section, we aim to guide you about the different types and stages of business growth, the potential challenges at each stage and tips to deal with such problems effectively.

First phase: The Startup 

Every business has to pass through the first stage when starting a new business called the startup stage. Here are the common problems you will most likely be facing during this phase:

Problems:

  1. Businesses at this stage commonly struggle with finance; their financials will be above their planned budget amount.
  2. A Business at this stage will face difficulties in establishing its brand name.
  3. As a Business, you will find yourself engaged in unnecessary business activities that will not be in line with your business plan.

This initial phase is the hardest stage, not only will you be short on finance, but the lack of brand visibility, resources and customers magnify problems for a business. However, every issue brings about it countless solutions.

Solutions:

  1. Keep thorough track of your cash flow
  2. Gain insight from customers and make improvements accordingly
  3. Start focusing on short term and achievable targets while keeping the long term goals in mind

You should hire startup accountants to help you get better control over your cash flow and to help you identify potential tax reliefs from the very beginning.

Second phase: Business Growth

Once a business has successfully passed through the startup stage, it needs to start preparing for its growth stage. At this stage of its life, a business will be generating higher revenues with an increased density of customers. Similar to the initial phase, you will encounter numerous challenges in the growth phase, some of these challenges are:

Problems:

  1. Under the growth phase, the business will still not have enough resources, but an increased workload, which will require its owner and employees to allocate more time to various tasks, depending upon their importance, very carefully.
  2. During the growth phase, the business will see its sales and customer base grow; hence, you will have to take measures to meet the rising demand.
  3. Growth isn’t guaranteed to be consistent; you will, therefore, need to make sure that the growth you are pursuing is sustainable.

Solutions:

  1. Hire a passionate accountant who is equally interested in your business as you are. Your accountant should help you manage your finances effectively, manage resources efficiently and set up KPI’s to determine if your growth is sustainable or not.
  2. You will need to reconsider your company’s processes every once in a while and bring about innovations and improvements to make your business processes more efficient over time.
  3. Employ an efficient, effective and easy-to-use accounting, reporting and management system which will enable you to predict sales, control inventory and manage resources.
  4. During the growth phase, businesses can lose sight of their ultimate plan; they should stay in line with their goals and objectives by working on their business growth plans and designing an effective strategy for its implementation.

Third phase: Business expansion

Increased brand visibility and market presence will mark the end of the second phase of business growth and will highlight the beginning of the expansion phase. In the expansion phase, you will target business growth, diversification, and expansion into new markets, territories or products.

Problems:

The third stage of business growth is all about business expansion and like every stage, you will encounter various challenges in this phase

  1. Business growth flatlines at a certain point in its lifecycle, which cannot be increased by improving brand visibility or market presence.
  2. You plan to expand your reach into new markets, but that won’t be easy due to geographical, demographic or communication challenges.
  3. You may struggle to introduce new channels and streams to generate revenues and profits.

Solutions:

  1. A business should always plan for growth strategies; these change as the company hits maturity; this is where new expansion strategies are required.
  2. You will be required to target markets that are suitable for your products and should avoid targeting any markets that are at high risk.
  3. You need to set realistic goals according to the number of resources you have.

You need to work on and develop an adequate business development strategy for each cycle of your business.

How to create a Business development plan:

Your business development plan is quite similar to your initial business plan but has a higher emphasis on business growth, strategic planning, and designing smart solutions for complicated problems for each business stage.

When designing your business development plan, you need to make sure you are on the right path, its advisable to conduct a SWOT analysis on your business development plan early on to determine where your business stands.

If you have no clue on how to conduct a practical analysis of your business development strategy, you can speak to a business accountant to gain relevant insight and expertise into developing one.

Fundamental essentials to write a business development plan

Discover new opportunities:

Practical business growth planning requires you to research your competitors, target market, your products and your financial standing in the market, thoroughly.

Financing plan:

Your business development plan should consist of a concrete financing plan. It would help if you wrote about the amount of capital you possess, additional funding you will need and ways to acquire such funding.

Realistic goals:

You need to have realistic goals on your business growth checklist, and to make sure you achieve your desired long term and short term goals, you will have to predict the number of revenues, costs, and profits associated with those results.

A high performing business team:

Your business team is the key to success, so you need to ensure that you evaluate the entire team and introduce new employee training programs to increase their productive capacity.

Marketing and sales goals:

Your sales and marketing strategy is going to help you set yourself apart from your competitors, so it’s essential to discover the prospects of your marketing and sales activities on your growth compared to your competitors. Speak to your accountant to

Key things to keep in mind?

There are some considerations to keep in mind while writing your business development plan:

  1. Make sure you don’t underestimate the amount of money and capital required to grow your business.
  2. You will come across countless growth opportunities, but ensure that you select the best ones.
  3. Focus on your finance budgeting to ensure that you don’t fall short of cash.
  4. Set both long term and short term goals, but your short term goals should align with your long term goals.

Once the plan is in place, you will need to focus on the practicalities of rising demand, expanding the customer base and the diversification of your products and services.

Business Accountant

What do you need to know about demand forecasting?

Demand forecasting is the process of determining the quantity or amount of goods and services that your customers will be purchasing from you in the future.

You forecast the future demand of your customers by examining the past data that may include your sales from the previous years.

How can the accuracy and reliability of demand forecasting help your business?

If you are successful in conducting an accurate and reliable demand forecast, you will be able to:

  1. Predict the correct amount of resources that will be required to meet the demands of the customer in the future.
  2. Engage yourself in informed and effective decision making.
  3. Gain valuable insight into potential growth opportunities in the target markets.
  4. Deal with any cash and product shortages or surpluses in the future effectively.

You might want to utilize the help of your accountant to prepare a demand forecast. If you do not have an accountant try searching for an Accountant in London or an online accountant.

What are the ways to forecast demand?

There are generally three ways to forecast demand, but you need to figure out the method that will serve your business the most.

1. Qualitative:

The Qualitative method is applicable where you don’t have sufficient data to work on and are usually estimating the demand for future products and services. There are various ways to conduct a qualitative forecast.

  1. Forecasting by sales team: The sales team is assigned the duty to forecast demand by working out their knowledge, expertise, experience, and past sales data.
  2. Forecasting by a panel of experts: A panel of experts that may include accountants, advisers, investors, etc., conduct their forecasting individually and finalize a single forecast after careful mutual consensus.
  3. Forecasting by research: A survey is designed to investigate the customer’s preferences, market data, product demand which can also be used to hook customers’ interest.

2. Quantitative:

The Quantitative method is ideal for businesses that have been in the market for a considerable number of years. The companies utilizing quantitative practices have the benefit of creating an accurate and reliable demand forecast for their future products and services based on past sales and other data that has been collected for several years by the company. Here is how quantitative forecasting is possible:

  1. Averaging: By averaging, you add up the actual demand from customers from the past three months and divide it by three to get forecasted demand for the next three months.
  2. Sales against time graph: This method involves plotting a trend line across sales and time axis, a single point on the graph denotes the number of sales during a specific point in time.
  3. Causal: Causal method takes several factors such as inflation, spending behavior, changing economy and behavior of competitors to predict demand for new products in the future.

A causal method can be conducted by:

  1. Product lifecycle: You analyze the different stages of a product’s lifecycle to determine which stage of the lifecycle attracts the most customers.
  2. Studying Seasonal trends: You determine the reasons behind the upward and downward sales drive both during the period of a year.

How to improve Sales at the startup stage:

Your sales are one of the primary determinants of your business growth. You should know how to retain your existing customers and how to approach new ones. Here are some essential tips to consider if you are trying to drive up your sales.

  1. Research early on: You need to understand your current and potential customer base to drive up sales, for that, you have to conduct thorough research on the target and potential market before releasing your product.

You can make this possible by designing and conducting a survey or hiring someone to lead the market data gathering for you.

  1. Make good use of social media: Social media is a popular and rewarding platform of the modern era. Many businesses now prefer to set up a business page on Facebook or Instagram, as it is free of additional rent, electricity, and other utility charges. If one is successful in figuring out which social media the target market uses the most, and market their products or services on the respective platform, then there is a very high chance that your sales can boost up dramatically
  2. Offer exclusive discounts and packages: By offering reasonable discounts and special packages on your product line, you can keep your loyal customers satisfied and will also be able to attract new customers to your products.
  3. Pay special attention to your existing customers: Ensure that you are keeping your current customers happy and satisfied. Your existing customer base can be crucial to driving up your sales, through referrals or word of mouth sales.

Other methods of improving sales:

We all know about the miracles of digital marketing and its capability to transform a simple startup into a business worth millions. You need to ensure that you are taking the right steps to guarantee maximum traffic generation on your website. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. You have to optimize your website for search engines and for that you need to ensure that your SEO game is solid. Learn about different tricks and tips to increase your SEO or hire a competitive marketing agency.
  2. The primary purpose of digital marketing is to provide as much information as possible in the most eye-catching manner, which makes it easy for customers to understand your product and grabs their interest instantaneously.
  3. You should have a responsive website that is both user-friendly and simple to use.
  4. Post your products with exciting content and pictures on Facebook, Instagram or any other online shopping platforms.
  5. Make sure you build an email list to inform your new and existing customers about new products and discounts you are offering.
  6. Work hard on your content, engage influencers on social media, and make the best use of Google tools like Google Analytics to ensure your website stays at the top in the relevant searches.

Growth through growing your product line:

To expand your business, you can try and focus on expanding your product line. It’s always better to improve your product line than just adding new products.

This section tends to provide you tips through which you can successfully expand your product line.

  1. Go beyond your target market:

Pay attention to marketing your product to more lucrative markets. Offer different prices for different customers, so that every individual gets to enjoy your products. It would help if you also researched on what you can offer to address the needs of the audience beyond your target market.

Congratulations, these are the key things you would need to cover as part of your business development plan, such as driving up sales, improving and increasing the product line and targeting other markets, etc.

Potential expansion methods to add in a development plan:

Business expansion requires painstaking efforts, endless energy, and in-depth research; therefore, you need to follow a set of guidelines to ensure that your efforts don’t go to waste.

  1. Understand the external markets

Your business expansion into new markets will require you to understand its dynamics and customer preferences very carefully. You need to have sufficient knowledge about the competitors in the market, market growth rate, potential barriers to entry and the level of demand for your product. It would be best if you also had guidance on how to enter the market successfully.

Different mode of entry:

If you are planning to introduce your products and services into a new market, there are various ways through which you can enter and leave your footprint in the market.

Acquisition or franchising

Buying a franchise or acquiring another business is an excellent option. This is the quickest way to enter the market and to learn its dynamics, but the risk level associated is somewhat high, and you might have to spend a hefty amount of money to acquire a franchise or another business.

Introduction of a new product

You can make your way into the market by introducing an entirely new product or set of products into the market. This approach tends to be risky as you will have no exposure to the dynamics of the market, and you’ll have to learn most of the things by yourself. As compared to other approaches, you’ll have full control over your business.

Partnership

Taking partners on board is an excellent option, as partners who are living near your target location will understand the market and its preferences better. You can also partner with other existing businesses in the market or may hire distributors to ensure your products are flowing into the market as you wish. This approach is less risky as compared to the others, however, you need to ensure that you develop friendly relations with your partners and keep their interests along with your in mind.

Growing, Expanding and Sustaining a business is hard work, but with effort comes the fruit of return such as money, jobs for your local market and a contribution to your countries economy.

Thao Le

Thao Le

Thao Le is a Senior Accounting Manager at Clear House Accountants. Having worked and grown in the industry for a number of years she is now responsible for a team of accountants, tax planners and bookkeepers, working with them to help clients from a variety of industries, grow, save money and plan for the future. Thao holds a Bachelor and Masters degree in Accounting and Finance and is currently working towards her ACCA, she is also a Xero and Quickbooks Certified Advisor. Thao believes her expertise lies in high-level tax planning, management accounting and strategic business planning based on financial performance and business analytics. Her experience, expertise and knowledge make her an exceptional contributor at clear house towards various articles and research content.

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