The number of high-growth, scaling businesses in the UK is at a record high, totalling over 36,500. That’s a 3.7% increase over the just one year. To help make your business part of this growing movement, there are a number of things you need to keep on top of to have the best chance of success.
If you’re looking at scaling a business, the first step is to shift your mindset from innovative go-getter to measured strategist. This can be tricky because, by this point of running your business, you’re probably used to taking on everything in the business, from keeping the accounts to developing a website. To scale your business, you might need to consider a different approach.
You need to find the right talent to support your vision, let you take a step back and work on the vision itself. One way to build and develop a talented team is hiring apprentices who can be trained to specialisms. Take your time to make the right hires and you will be much better positioned to grow and keep scaling up.
With your talented team in place, be sure to write a robust business plan that you revisit regularly; this is vital. It will make you scrutinise and think about every corner of your business, how you operate and how you might maximise profits.
It’s not enough to just have this written down, though. You should be able to communicate your ideas confidently, not just so that outside interests can understand them, but also so that your own team have a clear idea of where the business is going, and how you are going to get there.
A big part of your business plan should focus on your target market. This is where you lay out who are current and potential customers, where they’re based and why they will buy what you are selling.
When it comes to scaling your business, you will likely have a good idea of what these potential customers look like. Use this to research where these kinds of people are and be sure to look beyond the borders of your home market.
For the first time last year, scaleups were given a vital role in the government’s newly published Export Strategy, which aims to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP from 30% to 35%. So if you do find there is a potential for your business to start exporting to help you scale, this is good news. The government’s focus and investment in exporting means there is strengthening support available to you.
Research from the Scaleup Institute shows that scaling businesses are more productive than other firms, and twice as likely to be innovative and exporters than larger firms.
It is easy to see how the growing number of scaling businesses is taken as a welcome boost to the UK economy. These benefits have spurred industry and government bodies to increase their support for scaleups, but you can’t put it to good use if you don’t seek help.
GC Business Growth Hub is one of these industry bodies. It is fully-funded community of specialists dedicated to helping businesses in Greater Manchester realise their ambitions. Growth and startup lead Hilary Centeleghe says that “All the support is the best-kept secret. There are tremendous support agencies – including ours – out there, that will help you look at making yourselves resilient and grow in a sustainable way.” It’s not always easy to see what support and services are out there, but finding out has to be a top priority, because you don’t want to miss out.
It takes money to make money. That’s not a big secret for businesses and scaling your business can take a lot of cash to do. If you find you need a cash injection to make things happen, you need to carefully consider your options and which one is right for you.
For example, getting investors on board could mean you are able to take advantage of their experience and get their advice. On the other hand, you should be very careful with any contracts you sign. Some investor contracts will force you to give away some or all of your intellectual property which you might not be willing to do.