We found Mariam the funding she needed to boost her new fashion business

How to grow your small business

Using finance to aid growth can be smart and potentially explosive, and there are many ways to grow your small business. Funding it is a big part of the puzzle and it can help any promising company go from zero to 100 in a very short time.

In this guide to growing your business:

  • Pounce on vital opportunities to increase your revenue and acquire more customers
  • Buy the equipment, machinery or premises you need (for a growing workforce or to hold extra stock)
  • Use innovative business finance from the crowd to supercharge growth
  • Get funding for mergers, acquisitions and takeovers using alternative finance

Take on new contracts

Acquiring a new contract for the business is exciting. New work means new customers, and therefore increased revenue into the business. Some contracts will be a stepping stone for growth, while other upcoming contracts will be make-or-break for your firm. It’s often the case that you win a large contract based on the quality of your service or product, but to actually carry it out you'll require more resources than you currently have. Why not use growth funding to prepare the business for the work?

Finance for expansion is all about increasing your working capital. It can help you buy the raw materials or equipment you need for the contract, or allow you to take on more employees and pay their wages. Crucially, you can obtain business funding very quickly – in weeks, if not days – to carry out your plans, and take advantage of opportunities quickly.

Get new equipment or machinery

There are specific financing options that give you access to the tools and assets your business needs as it grows. For instance, hiring a fleet of vehicles or ordering brand new machinery to process the order. It depends on what your business needs, and using finance is a smart way to do this. Why? It means you get access to the equipment without having to pay large amounts of cash up-front. This helps keep the business in a good cashflow position, which is important for any growing company.

Take a fast-growing brewery for example. It takes on a contract with a large supermarket to manufacture and supply their own-label beers. The brewery will have to triple its production capabilities to match the demand from the supermarket. The brewery owners then take out finance on a large canning line, giving them access to the high-spec machinery within days and allowing them to start processing the orders quicker than they ever imagined. All this can happen without affecting your cashflow position, so you can still pay the other overheads of the business during the exciting growth stages.

Go after new markets

It can make a lot of sense to target a new market – there’s new customers and potentially greater traction for your product/service. Again though, every small business has limited resources to carry out these feats. Pulling extra funds into the business to help this objective can be smart, and it’s often necessary.

Move into new premises

If anything is a sign of a growing business, it’s the business that physically expands into new offices, new outlets or new warehouses. It’s sometimes a necessity, too. If your online retail business suddenly booms, you may have to move the stock from your garage into a separate property, such as a storage unit or warehouse. Or, when your team almost doubles in size over a year, you will need to move to larger premises. Whether you’re looking to purchase the property, or get the funds for the first 3 months' rent, a growing business doesn’t just do it through sales, but using finance too.

Use new growth funding models

The more innovative business finance methods allow a great product or service to accelerate rapidly. These online platforms allow your company to receive investment via equity or debt from 'the crowd'. They’re referred to as peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding models, and there are lots of platforms competing to host the best business ideas. It’s not suitable for every growing business, but it can be a worthwhile option to explore.

Takeovers, mergers and acquisitions

A great way to grow companies is through taking over existing businesses – perhaps rivals – or merging with them (you don’t just have to set up a great start-up!). Raising finance for mergers and acquisitions is complex, and can be structured in many ways.

If you’re planning your next business growth move, as you can see there are plenty of options available. For ambitious directors, this is as good a time as any to start thinking about your funding options.

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