News that Blockbuster has become the latest high-street retailer to fall into administration casts a dark cloud over the business world.
The UK shifted officially out of recession last year and many people thought that meant we’d see a steady rise in business growth again. But, despite this encouraging sign, the UK economy is still in considerable trouble.
Although the government has implemented a series of initiatives to help, small businesses are still struggling to get banks to start lending to them again. Well-managed businesses need loans to promote their growth and start creating more jobs for the economy. But, at the moment banks are failing to meet the needs of small businesses. Smaller financial lenders and quick cash providers are happy to help businesses in need of extra funds to keep up with payments. A small cash loan will relieve your immediate financial strains, but it may not be enough to cover the very large expenses associated with growing a business.
A new revolution in long-term business lending – the idea of peer-to-peer lending – has got small business owners excited as it could provide you with the extra credit you need to start growing your company. According to the Telegraph, this idea could transform the British economy.
Until peer-to-peer lending really takes off, you’re going to have to find alternative ways to keep your business developing and growing.
Find more fundingA key aspect of business growth is investment. As a small business, you need to find funding sources to allow your business to expand and fulfil its potential. While peer-to-peer lending builds momentum, there are other areas you can look to for funding. The main one, although this is not always possible (especially now), is to invest previous profits back into your business. You won’t make a profit while you do this, but in the long-run, when your business grows, it’ll well and truly pay off. Make sure you investigate the government-backed schemes on offer to see if your business qualifies for their assistance. You could also consider selling shares to outside investors as a way of drawing money into your business.
Increase salesThis is easier said than done, but if you can find ways to increase sales to your existing customers as well as bringing in new customers, you’ll be in a great position. There are three types of existing customers to focus on. One-off customers need to be persuaded to become repeat customers and regular customers need to be convinced to purchase more of your products. There are also always customers who have stopped buying from you for whatever reason. You need to find out why and try to bring them back to your business. Remember, it’s usually cheaper to target existing customer than new ones, so centre your efforts on this section of your consumer market.
Finding new customers can be difficult for any business. It’s always good to ask your existing customers to recommend you to family and friends. Another easy approach is to advertise in local media and invest in your online marketing to target specific audiences.