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As a business owner, how do you know when the time is right to go for growth? How do you improve on revenue and increase profits while retaining that personal touch?

It’s important not to become complacent just because your business has reached a certain level of success. Anticipating the next move rather than simply playing a defensive game is crucial. Competition doesn’t stand still and neither should you.

Anyone who takes their business for granted won’t be around for long – there’s always somebody looking to step in and take your business. Growth for growth’s sake can lead to business failure. It’s better to analyse what’s working in your business.

Current customers

There’s common fear amongst owner-managers that going for growth means time away from the customer in favour of focusing on “new business”. In fact, it’s by exploring the customer relationship more keenly than ever that you can achieve sustainable growth.

Consider surveying your top customers. Ask them why is it that they come to you? What do they value most about your offer? Using these insights, you can help you to give more customers more of what you’re good at and cut right back on – or stop doing – those things that let the business down.

To avoid getting stuck in a rut, constantly check that you’re going about things the best way. It’s a bit like a marriage – just because you always do something one way, doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. Looking at how you can do things better shouldn’t be a source of stress – I think it can bring an owner-manager great satisfaction.

There’s a tendency to believe that significant investment in both time and money is required in order to go for growth. Instead begin small, for example, by following up leads that have gone quiet with a fresh perspective on what you can offer.

Work smarter

For a cost-conscious business, the best route is generally to work smarter. An agile and well-oiled marketing machine will allow the business to adapt and seek out opportunities, while new software solutions promise better customer relationship management (CRM) even at high volumes.

With technology constantly evolving, it is becoming easier to monitor the quality and the quantity of time you are spending with your customers. I believe that within the next 5 to 10 years all owner-managers will have a much more holistic view of their businesses.

Use your advisors

Be sure to sit down with your accountant to check that the numbers stack up where spending is required before you commit yourself. We’ll help you consider the implications of the financials: where growth will put pressure on a company, how will it impact cash flow, what will it do to an owner-manager’s lifestyle and so on.

It’s important to seek valuable input above and beyond accountancy and tax planning services from your accountants. You need to be well informed about the type of risks that go hand in hand with expansion – whether at home or overseas. Use your business advisor as a sounding board, whether actively pursuing an opportunity or tentatively exploring a new idea.

Your advisor should also be able to advise on the softer side of business, checking that you have fully considered the resource angle, advising on HR planning and explaining possible means to keep staff incentivised, such as stock options.

We like to think that we can help our clients to achieve growth a little bit faster and with fewer headaches because we’ve helped so many businesses before.

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

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