How to upscale your business and compete with big businesses
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Thinking about how to upscale your business? Here’s a few tips on how get your business ready to take on the big companies and win.
You’ve made it! You’ve taken the seed of an idea and grown it into a successful business. But how to expand from there? How do you upscale your small business and compete with the big players in your market?
Think about why you want to expand, is it a new product launch? Do you want to expand geographically, to increase sales volume, or a combination of these factors? Any of these reasons will have an effect on how best to upscale your business, but it’s important to know what your goals are.
Once you’ve got your business to a stage where your profits are stable and all your accounts are in order, you’re probably at a point where you’re ready start upscaling. But before you can do that you need make your business ready for the changes you’ll need to make.
Restructuring, marketing and fundraising are three key components of a successful upscale. Here’s how you can utilise them to grow your business.
Create a structure that supports growth
Your business may by your brainchild, it may have taken blood sweat and tears to get to where your, but it’s at this point that you should be delegating more. This can be a tough call for many, trusting the running of certain parts of the business to others, but it’s vital if you want to grow.
Keep in mind the more you can delegate to others, the more time you’ll have to strategize your company’s growth. Be honest about where your strengths are most needed and look within your existing team for people who can take on more responsibility.
Work out the departments that you need to make key hires for and which ones will need more resources/support as your business expands. Above all, ensure you have a clear framework of responsibility and communication and be careful not to micro-manage – remember the point is to make better use of your time.
As your business grows, the increasing admin can start becoming an issue demanding more of your time. Outsourcing can often be a great economic solution to expanding your workforce. It may be worth considering outsourcing some of the day to day elements of the business.
There are a lot of professional companies out there who can handle various tasks for you. Again, think of the strengths you have within your existing team and look at what tasks may be better outsourced. Some examples of areas you could outsource are:
- General Admin
- IT Support
- HR & recruitment
- Marketing & PR
- Call answering
In order to get this far, you’ve clearly been doing something right, and part of that will be backed up by a loyal following of clients and advocates of your product. But can you expand on that audience? And how can you reach new people to convince them that your product is better than your larger competitors’?
Upscaling your business means that marketing approach will need to evolve with your business based on your changing goals. A great starting point when it comes to increasing your reach is looking at your current audience. Find out who your key influencers are, the people who will and do shout about your brand the loudest.
Identify who are your best advocates by looking at their social reach and if they already sit within your target audience. Ideally they should already have plenty of followers, but it’s no good if their followers are not in your target group.
Once you’ve identified your brand influencers you can approach them about becoming brand ambassadors, this can be through offering rewards such as free products or services or even cash incentives.
Use your size as a positive
When taking on the big companies, it’s best not to take them on by competing on their terms. Far better to play on your strengths as a smaller business that way you can focus on your ability to provide a perhaps more bespoke service.
Gone are the days when the majority preferred large corporations. Nowadays people would much prefer to support their local business, provided of course that they are still receiving a great product or service.
If you can utilise your brand value as a local or independent business at the same time as offering a competitive price or superior product, then you are more likely to be rewarded with customer loyalty.
This is one of the most important components of a successful upscale, financing your expansion. Before you can start effecting any change to the business do the maths to ensure you’ve calculated costs vs income.
Once you’ve worked out what you want to invest in, be it product development, team expansion or marketing, you need to decide where you are best seeking capital from.
As a small business it was until recently, extremely hard to source growth finance, especially via more traditional lending means. Thankfully the growth and maturity of the alternative finance sector alongside increased regulations, means there are a broad range of funding options available for SMEs.
Crowdfunding is one option which can have the benefit of working well alongside your existing client base. In exchange for investing in your business you could offer investors rewards, advance products or equity in the company.
P2P and Debt Financing, like we offer at CODE Investing are great options if you want to raise larger sums of capital, or if you’d prefer not to lose equity in your business. There are various ways you can fund your business through debt financing such as offering secured and or convertible bonds.
When researching alternative finance platforms check that the company has a wide range of investors. At CODE we have a diverse audience of private, sophisticated, high net worth and institutional investors. We offer our investors peace of mind with our thorough due diligence process and the support we offer SMEs through our Bootcamp.
Whether you’re aiming to expand your global reach or take on bigger clients or opportunities, make sure you’re prepared for the changes your business may need to make. Upscaling before you’re ready can be reputationally and financially damaging, so make sure you’ve done the groundwork first. By taking these measure before expanding you can ensure your business is ready to succeed and meet your new goals.
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CODE Investing attended this year’s NACFB Commercial Finance Expo in Birmingham and showcased their latest key product offerings.
The latest BEIS survey evidences the challenges faced by SMEs trying to secure finance from traditional lenders.
The CODE Investing UK Investor report examines the growing trend in lenders supporting loans as a preferred way of financing small businesses.