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10 ways to take your business forward in 2018

How you could really make this a year to remember

The start of any new year provides the perfect opportunity to look ahead with increased energy and enthusiasm. You may also be able do a range of things that enable you to take your small business onto a whole new level of success. So, how could you take your business growth forward in 2018?

1. Buy another business

Making a strategic acquisition, possibly one of you key competitors, could give you a far greater market share. It could give you access to new products or services that you can sell to your existing customers, or it might mean you then bring in staff with knowledge or experience you don’t currently have.

2. Improve your cash flow

Having poor cash flow can hamper your ambitions to grow your business. Why not make 2018 the year that you really get to grips with your cash flow, by minimising your costs, maximising your margins, tightening up your credit control and working with budgets and reliable cash flow forecasts?

3. Launch a new product or service

Get it right and it could attract many new customers to your business or enable you to sell more to existing buyers. A PR and marketing campaign to publicise your new offering could raise your market profile and enable you to sell more of your other products and services. Why not really transform your fortunes by creating something truly innovative?

4. Diversify into new markets for business success

Diversifying simply means to try something completely new, usually by introducing or launching a product or service you haven’t previously been known for. Diversification can also mean to target a new sector by selling your existing products or services, when sound market research is essential.

5. Move to new premises

Your current home might be seriously restricting your growth ambitions or it may not simply be in the best location. Maybe it’s finally time to take your home-based business to the next stage in its development, by finding your first commercial premises.

6. Start selling to customers overseas

It can be a proven way to achieve significant growth, as you might not be able to sell any more to your UK customers. According to Exporting is GREAT: “85% of companies say exporting has led to a level of growth not otherwise possible”. Selling overseas can also mitigate the risk of relying solely on UK sales.

7. Fuel your business growth with a business mentor

Business mentors are normally highly experienced and successful people who are willing to share their knowledge with business owners who want to learn and become more successful. Mentors can offer general advice or have specific expertise (eg finance or selling overseas), functioning as trustworthy confidant and advisers.

8. Bring in new talent

New people often bring new ideas, knowledge, experience and contacts, which can really help your business to progress – as long as you make good recruitment decisions. You must attract the right candidates and know how interview them if you are to make the right choice.

9. Secure angel investment

Business angels are wealthy, entrepreneurial types who invest cash for a share of a business, which also benefits from their knowledge, experience and contacts. They invest alone or with others and deals worth between £10,000 and £500,000 are common (up to £2m for syndicate angel investments). They usually expect a return on their investment within three to eight years.

10. Really raise your profile

Good publicity can increase sales, so why not do much more PR in 2018? Enter more awards, do more networking, take a stand at trade shows, go to more events, sponsor more things. Write more blogs and put yourself forward to journalists as an expert on your sector or on small-business issues. Become more active on social media.

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