Here’s how to grow your business if you want to take it to the next level

So business is booming and you’re not content to just maintain the status quo…. you want to grow your business into something bigger. Well, strap in because you’re in for an exciting ride that will expand your skills, test your mettle and ideally put your business on the trajectory toward bigger success.

Here are some tips that any small business, sole trader or freelancer can use to grow their business, regardless of industry.

Decide how you want to grow

There are many ways to grow your business, so you need to decide how you want to grow. Here are some examples.

You can:

  • Add new products or services to your offering. A piano teacher has a unique and effective method of teaching and decides to develop an instructional app that utilises this method. Or a craft brewery decides to expand the number of varieties of beer it brews.
  • Open up a new physical location. The brewery’s owner is a hit in his home town and he sees an opportunity in a location a few towns over.
  • Go premium. A photographer realises her work is unrivalled, so she drastically increases her prices and targets the premium market. A move like this could significantly change the way you do business.
  • Hire another “you”. The piano teacher hires a former student to teach her method to students, allowing her to double the number of students she can reach.

Take advantage of credit

Most of the examples above will probably require a financial investment: to fix up the new physical location, to boost your marketing, to develop the app or to hire the new employee.

If you have your sights high, now’s the time to start thinking about building your business’ credit history.

If you’re registered as a company with the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO), your business will have a credit file – which may or may not be empty depending on how much borrowing you’ve done.

As long as you are in a position to pay it back on time, getting a loan is a good way to build your credit history – as is signing up for utilities (phone internet, power, etc) in your business’ name.

This can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • It helps with future loans. When/if you need bigger loans in the future, lenders will want to see a positive credit history.
  • It helps with partnerships. Potential partners can also access your credit score to determine if they want to do business with you, so a good track record does much more than help you get loans.

Before you get any new loans, it’s good to know where you currently stand. If you sign up for Credit Simple for Business, you can see your business credit score and history for free, forever. You must be a director in your business in order to access it.

Build processes

This means developing a series of repeatable steps that help you achieve a particular outcome for your business, for example, a six-step process for vetting a supplier.

Having processes in place will free up time for you to focus on growing your business, make training new employees a lot easier and help you avoid costly mistakes (like taking on an unreliable supplier).

You can build processes into almost every business function: customer service, public relations, accounting, IT, operations and more.

Learn marketing

Many small business owners are skilled in a specific area related to their product or service, and that has been enough to keep them operating on a small scale.

Maybe you’re a photographer whose stunning family portraits and fair pricing drive enough word of mouth to keep you employed. But if you want to drastically increase your business, you’ll need to improve your website, advertise, network and possibly partner with other service providers such as a makeup artist.

The skill set required for these activities is different than that required to take stunning photos, so you’ll need to adopt a sales and marketing mindset sooner rather than later.