Five successful growth strategies | Royal Bank of Scotland


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Add your signposting title here… One step at a time

Consideration and careful planning help no end when growing your business, says James Hind, founder of car review aggregator 

"From the beginning, we knew that the success of the site was dependent on getting the product right for individual sub-markets first,” he says. “While we could have launched all manufacturers at once, we knew that this could have had a negative impact on our attempts to scale if there were any teething issues."

"So, we launched Volkswagen first, sold 400 of them and got that working smoothly over a year. Once visitors could use the platform without any signs of a glitch, we launched Audi and nearly doubled the volume of sales within a few months. We kept this progressive rollout approach going until we had all of the brands on the site that we were aiming for.”

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Turn your business into a franchise



Key stats

According to the British Franchise Association's Franchise Survey 2015, franchising contributes £15.1 billion to the UK economy, an increase of 46% over the past 10 years. Some of the country's biggest chains are actually franchises

Use franchising to grow

Brands such as Toni & Guy started out as small businesses and then embraced franchising as a way to achieve rapid growth. Wilkins Chimney Sweep, a typical owner-operator business based in Newbury, has successfully franchised in 10 locations

Failure rates are low

Commercial failure rates for franchises are incredibly small relative to failure rates for small busiensses generally. Carl Reader, author of The Startup Coach, believes it's a great route to growth. "Hundreds of UK businesses currently use franchising as a route for expansion; from sole traders to international corporates”

Motivated franchisees

As franchisees are putting their own money on the line, they are often far more incentivised than an employed manager in a corporate chain. And the statistics back this up - 97% of franchisees report profitability, according to the British Franchisee Association's Franchise Survey 2015

Add your signposting title here… Talent at the top

Any business, whatever its shape and size, can benefit from experience at boardroom level. In fact, according to executive search and interim management firm Intramezzo, not having the right board make-up is one major way to hamper growth:

Their Talent Capital Report found that the quality and strength of the leadership team was a top factor in gaining investment, with 85% of respondents ‘unlikely’ or ‘highly unlikely’ to back a company that lacks the right skills

A successful talent strategy is dependent on recognising whether the existing leadership team is capable of meeting not only current objectives but the longer term ambitions of the business.

Says Dermot Hill, CEO of Intramezzo

Consider export opportunities

Finding new customers is an obvious way to boost your business but many UK companies neglect the opportunities that exporting to markets overseas can bring, fearing it to be too complicated, or incredibly expensive.

The Government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative, launched in November 2015, aims to tackle this.

More about exporting

"Many companies hesitate before taking the export plunge, but they shouldn’t. 85% of organisations that have worked with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) say that exporting has led to a level of growth otherwise not possible, whilst 73% say it has increased the commercial lifespan of their products or services and boosted productivity in their first year,” reveals Dr Catherine Raines, UKTI Chief Executive.

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Add your signposting title here… Collaborate with others

With so many businesses out there, the quickest way to grow could be through a simple and informal tie-up or collaboration. Becoming a member of a local networking group such as 4Networking can often help establish relationships, helping to gain and give referrals while also hearing about work you could join forces on.

Patrick Gallagher, CEO at CitySprint, is a big believer in collaboration. "Our research found 86% of small businesses who partnered with others during the economic downturn say that they are now in better shape financially and less concerned about the future of their business,” he said. “With so many challenges ahead for businesses, pooling resources and talent is the best bet to achieve ambitious growth plans."

So if you are looking to grow your business in the coming years, make sure you are well prepared, and consider all of the opportunities available to you. 

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