Your business is up and running but you need support to drive growth, we can help.
Ready to grow your business but need help?
Looking to grow your business is an exciting stage in your business journey. You have built a good customer base and they are receiving your service or product well. However, it can also be intimidating and – similar to starting out – it is important to evaluate, plan and set goals.
Your customers are a great starting point for gathering feedback. By knowing what they want, you can open up new ways of working and understand which products and services you should be focusing on. Your customers are a great starting point for gathering feedback.
As well as existing customers, you will want to know how you can expand your market share. This could include adopting new business models to reach a wider audience or looking at whether you could export your product or service to other countries around the world.
What is true is that you can’t do it all on your own. Finding the right people to support your business growth is a challenge, as well as ensuring that existing employees are motivated and engaged with your plans for the future.
We can provide support and tools to help you analyse every aspect of your growth plans, as well as provide practical advice about the steps that you need to take. Our expert Growth Managers can also work with you on a one to one basis to steer you in the right direction.
Growing a business:
5 questions to ask
- Have I got a clear plan in place?
- What systems and technology will I need?
- Can my current premises support a growing team?
- What additional skills will I need?
- Where can I access professional advice should I need it?
Growing a business: Common questions
Similar to when you were starting out, it is vital to create a growth plan. This will help you to evaluate how far your business has come, what has contributed to its growth so far and set realistic ambitions for the future.
You should also use this as an opportunity to analyse your finances and cash flow, create a profile of your typical customers (personas), and evaluate your market and competitor landscape. Once you know where you want to be, it is also important to break your plans down into objectives that are ‘smart’ – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It’s vital to also understand where the risks are and how you will ensure continuity should things go awry.
When the worst happens and you suffer a disruption to your operations, being able to respond swiftly can lessen the impact. Knowing the risks to your business, ensuring that you have adequate insurance, and developing a business continuity plan can help to build resilience and be prepared so you can get back to business in the quickest time possible.
Hiring an apprentice is an excellent way to bring new talent into your business, while developing a skilled and motivated workforce. Before taking on an apprentice, it is important that you understand your legal obligations and what will be required of you. The Government’s Apprenticeships Employer Hub is a good starting point for further information, stories and next steps.
We have also created a useful guide to apprenticeships which can be downloaded from our website.
The policies that you need to have in place will depend partly on which sector you are in and you should seek further advice on what is right for your business. However, if you are an employer, it is worth having HR-related policies written down in a formal staff handbook. This forms a set of rules by which employees should operate, as well as keeps them informed of their rights and responsibilities.
The policies set out should include: health and safety; codes of conduct; equal opportunities; absence and leave; and disciplinary and grievance procedures. In addition, you may also need to be up to date with regards to your responsibilities surrounding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy.
With growth may come the need for a formal office and/or additional space that you can expand into. One place to start from is to identify what you employees like about your current space, and use this to inform your search. In addition, it is important to evaluate what you will need based around your long-term growth plans and whether your new space offers the flexibility to adapt as circumstances change.
Getting the right financial support can really accelerate your growth plans. The ability to access grant funding will rely on your plans and the sector that you are operating in. However, where this is not available, there are a range of other finance options that you can explore, including Government-supported loans.
Being more sustainable makes good business sense. It can foster respect from customers and employees alike, and can positively affect your bottom line too. There are some simple steps that your business can take including recycling, looking at energy use, reducing travel for meetings and reviewing your supply chain.
As part of the Local Enterprise Partnership, we are closely linked with the Circular Yorkshire. Here you will find a range of case studies from other businesses adopting a more sustainable approach and our six benefits to business.
Thousands of UK businesses are successfully growing their business by offering their product or service to customers overseas. To be successful, it is important to plan and do your research into the markets that you want to enter. This will allow you to look at the possibilities, create a strategy for moving forward and set targets that will allow you to keep on track.
The Department for International Trade can help with creating a plan, establishing export markets and choosing the right route to them.
It has recently launched a new Internationalisation Fund to support SME businesses that are looking to grow and expand into new international markets. More information about the fund and how to apply can be found on our Import and Export page here.
“The Growth Hub has really good knowledge of the local area, so they are aware of projects going on that we can link into. For us, going self-employed, it has just been that safety net. I’ve always known I can pick up the phone and speak to the advisor at the Growth Hub.”
Jess Slater, Owner, Whitby Gin
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