Business success isn't impossible

Grow your business

Sema Fongod of highlights four key tips to fuel growth into business even when hope seems to be lost

It is commonly thought that running a successful business requires large amounts of capital, hundreds of employees and just to name a few – this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

In this difficult economic climate, running a business is much harder. If you are willing to accept the challenge, then you must do everything in your power to enhance your chances of success. There are a few business tips to bring success – they are not simple but could increase your odds for success.

1.  Formulate and revisit your business plan

Without doubt, this is the most important item on the list because it serves as the roadmap for growing the business, and helps you get to your destination – success. The plan sets the direction in which the company is moving and would assist you in developing financial projections and investments based on your business’ strengths and needs.

Your business plan should reflect the unique environment you operate in, as well as what you plan to be your competitive advantage. The market analysis leads to sales forecasts, which determine your staffing level, which also defines your budget, from which you can make financial projections and forecast cashflow.

Should you require some form of external finance, this is the document you would use to secure funds – could be from banks, independent lenders or business angels. This boosts your bargaining power and allows you to attract capital on your terms rather than just on your investors’

After reading this piece, go back and revisit your business plan. If it doesn’t provide clarity about your business’ size, shape and objectives then consider employing a specialist to develop the plan.

2. Stay on top of your cashflow

How do you plan on running a business with no money? Even as a sole trader, you need money to pay for your services, don’t you? Cashflow is as important as anything else once you’re in business. Several businesses, including high-profile companies go into administration because of large HMRC bills and/or limited working capital.

Late payment from customers is the number one reason why businesses experience short-term cashflow troubles, as day-to-day operational costs have to be financed. It’s becoming more of a trend for customers to take 30-90 days to complete payment for sales invoices. Invoice finance is a funding solution that bridges the cashflow gap between when a sale is made and when full invoice payment is received, by advancing up to 95% of the value of the invoice.

You may ignore invoice finance and assume customers would pay you before due date. However, invoice finance also provides a debt collection service, allowing you to receive your monies already earned when and how you want. With working capital, you can then do practically anything.

3. Market your products/services

This is a simple one – you need a marketing plan (strategy). This would ultimately become part of the overall business plan, but should be cautiously considered. The plan should highlight the steps involved in the marketing of your business and how you will attempt to create and maintain customers for a profit.

The plan should also state whom you are going to sell to, so it should be easy to penetrate the market and target your sales campaigns. Establish a customer base and make a habit of sending regular emails about your products and services.

4. Spot good opportunities

Business success requires a mix of business know-how and capitalising on good business opportunities. By good opportunities, I mean opportunities like early supplier offers and discounts, taking advantage of a 150% profit contract or spotting an exploitable niche in the market.


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