Five ways to grow your business in uncertain times
6 min read
09 May 2017
It’s very common to come across small business owners whose growth has plateaued after a promising first few years, and who’ve resigned themselves to a reality where they accept a functioning business model and carry on at a steady and somewhat stagnated pace.
Indeed, I regularly come into contact with clients who hold the view that business growth in the UK’s current economic climate and uncertain times is nigh impossible.
And it’s a shame to see so much potential go to waste, especially with the onset of Brexit’s uncertain times, the UK is in dire need of commercial go-getters.
With this in mind, the team and I at Fortitude Dynamics put our heads together to come up with our five top tips for growing your business in the UK and further afield in uncertain times.
(1) Reassess your target market
Whether you offer a service or a product, you might feel that your current market is serving you just fine. But we can guarantee that there is always potential for you to expand your business to other markets. This could be in terms of location or demographic, or both: it’s up to you to decide where exactly you could be channelling your efforts.
Once you’ve identified growth opportunities, however, don’t focus on too many: set clear parameters as to which new markets you want to tap into. Otherwise, you risk muddying your market expansion strategy with unclear objectives.
(2) Merge with another business
You know the phrase: teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success. You might have the perception that M&A activity is the glamorous reserve of the corporate big guns, but you’d be surprised how merging with another business can provide commercial success on a smaller, more local scale.
It’s worth researching other businesses in your region who offer similar products or services, and getting in touch with them.
Many of our clients have done this and reaped great results, not only because merging bolsters your assets and potential for growth, but because good synergy with the merger has given them a new lease of life and love for what they do.
(3) Use franchising to reach new pastures
Growth can come from expanding your business to a new location. We’re living in the post-digital age, which paradoxically means that we have access to more people than ever without having any time to reach them.
This is where franchising could come in handy as a growth solution for your business, as via your online networks you can now instantaneously access people who can take ownership of it in locations you can’t reach.
Franchising shouldn’t be seen as relinquishing control of your business. Instead, it gives staff a good reason to be actively invested in growth and health of the company, meaning they’re likely to bring more to the table and ensure greater business success overall.
If you were thinking of adopting this strategy, our advice would be to send out ‘feelers’ to your online and offline networks to see what types of opportunities could arise.
(4) Diversify your products and services
One trick ponies don’t prosper forever, and it’s important for small businesses to stay agile and in-tune with market demand, especially in uncertain times. There are various ways of diversifying your business, and it largely depends on the type of assets you possess.
Whether you provide a product or service, it’s worth thinking about how you might develop additional offerings to complement them. Think about exactly what your customers need, because if they require more than one thing and can get them all in one place, chances are they will
Alternatively, you may not be making the best use of your assets, both tangible and intangible. If you’re confident making speeches in public, why not use your business expertise to become a paid speaker or columnist?
Likewise, you should think about how else your physical assets might be used, for example if you have office space that isn’t occupied in the evenings, you could rent it out to others who could use it, such as adult education classes.
(5) Tell the world what you’ve got to offer
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of marketing communications when growing your business. We are saturated with product and service offerings in the UK, and if efforts aren’t made to cut through the noise, growth is unlikely to occur.
Once you’ve established a clear growth strategy, invest in getting professional help with it from a marketing communications agency.
Whether your strategy needs social and digital marketing, press coverage or old-fashioned print advertising (and it could be a mixture of all of these and more), you’ll save time and money in the long run if you draft in professionals. If you don’t speak up about your business, who’s going to hear?
Monika Juneja is director of consultancy Fortitude Dynamics