Starting a business is one of the most exciting and exhilarating times in your life. Your business is your brainchild with all your efforts going into nurturing your ideas.
It can be a daunting time, however, with so many questions surrounding the running of the business.
SMEs and start-ups are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and up and down the country each one has a different challenge to tackle every day. Sometimes, we need a little help to grow our business.
Here, we are giving SMEs and start-ups the opportunity to read through our six thorough tips about how you can grow your SME, above and beyond.
- Pinpoint your perfect customer
Identifying an ideal customer or client for your business is vital in making sure you do not stretch your business efforts too thinly across too many demographics. Knowing the perfect customer will give you tunnel vision in relation to all business activity, meaning you will be more likely to hit the right markets.
This can be in relation to how your brand comes across, how your website works, whether you have a client-facing store on the high street and, more generally, how your business is run. If you do not do this, you run the risk of getting your brand in front of the wrong people, at the wrong time, and losing potential sales.
A great way to find your ideal customer is to do create different “buyer personas”, in which you hone in on demographics and behaviours. In this process, you will go through where your perfect customer is likely to discover you, how much they are willing to pay for your service, and what their pain-points are.
- Research your industry
Before your SME can grow, you need to know exactly where you stand within your market. Without doing proper market and competitor research you are shooting in the dark in relation to business goals and how to go about achieving them.
Researching competitors can give you insight into what works for them and what doesn’t. You can then take their good bits and make them better, and ensure you better them by removing the bad bits. Find holes in their products and services and highlight your products or services to potential customers as a better alternative.
Industry research, in a broader sense, can also bring key learnings to your business. Are there statutory changes coming into place that may affect the market? Perhaps there is a new technology that can enhance your industry that you are missing out on?
Constantly asking questions about your industry and competitors can mean you stay on top in the long term.
- Create a purpose
When you first thought about starting a business, what made you excited about it? What made you take the plunge and put it all into your brainchild? Take that excitement and enthusiasm and run it through your business. Create the same passion you have for your business in your staff and your clients.
You can do this by creating a purpose for your business. Having a purpose not only makes marketing your business more coherent, but it can also influence business decisions, because it can reinforce them.
It can be as simple as providing enjoyable coffee to customers at a reasonable price, with a smile on your face. Or as complicated as creating new technologies to help the medical industry. Whatever your purpose is, always go back to it when you face questions about your SME.
This can also help create a strong culture within the company, ensuring staff have clear core values to adhere to.
- Cash is King
This is one the first concepts you learn in business school. However, in an SME or start-up, managing cash flow is even more important. In an SME it is fairly easy to focus on driving revenue and looking at profits, while ignoring the implications of insufficient cash resources.
Cash flow management is crucial in ensuring employees and third-party suppliers can be paid, ensuring operations can continue undisturbed.
It is a good idea to maintain some cash reserves where possible. SMEs willhave cash shortfalls every now and then, that much is inevitable. However, depending on how prudent you have been in relation to cash reserves can determine how well you can manoeuvre those shortfalls
In addition to this, keeping a regular and updated cash flow spreadsheet and forecast can help SMEs predict any future problems that may arise.
- Protect your business
If you own an SME, it is probably one of the most important aspects of your life. However, so many people overlook potential minefields and hazards that could bring their business crashing down.
While there are a whole host of things to protect against, the two main issues are:
- Protecting your Intellectual Property
This involves anything that you have created in relation to your business. This could be business name, logo, website etc. By registering copyright and trademarks you can protect your creative works and ensure a potential competitor doesn’t steal any of your work. If you do have any IP that is valuable to your business, make sure it is protected.
- Insuring your business
You’ve insured your car, home and pet, but haven’t insured your business? If something goes wrong, insurance can stop your business from losing huge amounts of money. This can include employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and building and contents insurance. What type of business you own will depend on what insurance you need, but whatever you do, do not overlook this vital part of running a business.
- Understand there is help for you
While running a business can sometimes be a lonely, unforgiving place, be reminded that the UK does want you to succeed and progress your business – You’re not alone.
The UK business community wants businesses like yours to prosper so the economy can grow. For this reason, there are numerous ways businesses like yours can get funding schemes and grants. These include Princes Trust Grants, Launchpad grant funding, Small Business Research Initiatives, Heritage Lottery Fund Start-up Grants and the Grant for Business Investment.
A rapidly growing scheme in this arena is the R&D tax credit scheme. The UK Government is aware that Britain is world-renowned for being a force in innovation and research. However, innovation is not cheap, so back in 2000 they introduced R&D tax credits.
These tax credits were put in place to encourage innovation in UK companies, in order to ensure they can compete with the biggest global superpowers.
A staggering £21.4bn has been claimed in tax relief since 2000, in the form of 240,000 claims. This amount has been claimed by SMEs just like yours.
How can rdtaxcredit.org.uk help?
This is where rdtaxcredit.org.uk come in. Our experts can guide you through the R&D tax credit process, taking you through the process of which grant is right for you, knowing what you can and cannot claim for, and being able to write the perfect technical narrative which is vitally important in the claim process.
At rdtaxcredit.org.uk, we understand that beginning to think about claiming R&D Tax Credits may be a little daunting. We want to help you through the process, to ensure you receive the financial reward that the Government wants to give you.
We offer a friendly and professional approach to R&D Tax Credits which includes:
- A free no obligation initial review.
- 100% success rate
- 30 day quick turnaround
Contact one of our expert advisers today for a free initial review, and see if you can claim back some much needed tax relief.