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3 Simple but Effective Ways to Grow Your Business

In these unpredictable times, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with what the future of your business may hold. Sometimes, taking a step back to assess, evaluate and define who you are and what your business represents can put things into perspective – and get you moving in the right direction to grow your business.

These simple steps are part of our ‘57 Ways to Grow Your Business’ ebook: that can be downloaded for free here to provide more insights, tips and information.

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Define your Unique Seller Position (USP)

Before you design your logo or write a clever slogan, you need to identify your USP. This is what gives you an advantage over your competitors as it differentiates you from them, and is a key way to grow your business. 

So what constitutes an effective USP? A winning USP: 

• Makes a proposition to the customer that you will provide a specific benefit to them 

• Includes a benefit that your competitors can’t or don’t offer 

• Is a strong enough promise that it attracts customers 

Examples of successful USPs include Apple’s commitment to the most intuitive, sleekly designed technology, Spar’s focus on speed and convenience (or opening hours) and Ryan Air’s focus on price. 

Start by asking yourself and your team members to identify the following: 

• The business you are in 

• Your current and desired customers 

• Your competition 

• What makes you different 

• The unique benefits that you offer your customers 

Remember: “It’s more important to be different than it is to be better.”

Write a Business Plan

Planning is a key element to running a successful business. To get where you want to go, you’ll need a business plan to grow your business.

Most businesses don’t have any kind of plan. So, start with a simple plan that pinpoints what you want to achieve. Here’s an example: 

1. In five years’ time, I want the business to be worth £5 million 

2. To achieve this, it must make annual profits of at least £1.5 million 

3. To achieve this, it must have sales of £10 million 

4. I need to increase my sales by, on average, £1 million a year 

5. To do this, I will need to: 

a. Increase my customer base by 15% 

b. Increase the number of times my customers buy from me by 20% 

c. Raise prices by 10% 

Having developed a basic plan, it’s time to identify the constraints you think may get in the way of successful implementation. Consider the following: 

1. Inside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth? 

Some possibilities: 

• Lack of capital (financing) 

• Lack of credit from suppliers 

• Too many customers owing you money 

• Underperforming owners/attitude issues 

• Underperforming staff/attitude issues 

• Internal conflicts 

• Lack of direction 

• Outdated technology 

• Lack of marketing 

• Missing skills 

• Retirement and succession issues 

• Undesirable customers 

• Excessive payroll 

• High occupancy costs 

2. Outside the business, what are the principal constraints on our growth? 

• The economy 

• Regulations 

• Competition 

• Demographics 

• Energy prices 

• Shipping costs

What you should find is that you can’t do much about the outside constraints, but you can do a lot about internal constraints. 

Develop Targets, Forecasts and Budgets

Once you have a business plan, move on to setting targets for the short and medium term to grow your business. Do this together with your team, making sure everyone understands them and how they will be achieved. Then make sure everyone agrees that they are achievable. If your team isn’t willing to agree on this, go back to the drawing board. 

Next, it’s time to draft financial forecasts for the same periods. There’s a temptation to do these just to satisfy some outside party such as a lender, but they are a key management tool. Highlighting deviations from forecasted numbers allows you to take corrective action more quickly. Your forecasts are dependent on assumptions and estimates, so here it is important to be conservative. 

The last step in the process is to put together your near-term budgets. This is where team input is critical. Build budgets from the ground up, i.e. “here are our objectives, how much do you think we need to budget to achieve them?” rather than “here’s your budget!” 

Developing targets, forecasts and budgets can be daunting tasks if you do not do them regularly. As accountants, these are our “bread and butter” and we would be pleased to assist you.

Next Steps to Grow Your Business

Please contact us if you need further advice, have any questions about our services, or would like a free consultation or a fixed quote.

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