Business development · 4 May 2016

Six top tips for boosting your business

investment
The right investment can accelerate your business to success

Which areas should you target to best revitalise your enterprise? FedEx managing director of sales, David Poole, explains where to focus your energy to obtain the best results.

When spent appropriately, financial investment, whether large or small, can take even the most successful micro business to the next level. With this in mind, it is of paramount importance that small business owners make the most of financial reserves to help drive growth at home and abroad.

We have pinpointed six key business activities which could stimulate your business’ growth should you channel targeted investment into them.

(1) Raise your profile among stakeholders with PR

A strong PR campaign can help to raise brand awareness while increasing your firms’ credibility, through verification by trusted third parties. Enlist the expertise of a specialist, or contact local media yourself when a newsworthy business development takes place. Alternatively, you could offer to provide a regular advice slot or a one-off advisory piece on your area of expertise in your trade magazine of preference. The reader is far more likely to sit up and take note with this method of raising brand awareness than if they were to spot your name on a flyer or in a promotional feature. Research has suggested that an editorial article can be 100 times more valuable and almost 90 per cent more effective for the growth of your brand than advertising alone.

(2) Boost your social media presence

Significant online presence increases your credibility and helps to enhance your business’ profile, adding to its potential future profitability and growth. Nearly 80 per cent of consumers would be more inclined to buy from a brand as a result of its presence on social media, so it is worth spending a little time establishing relevant accounts to potentially attract more customers. In-house, the cost of doing so is normally negligible, if maintenance of the feeds is factored into your day-to-day business activity planning, and you budget for promotional features. Alternatively, a digital or social media specialist is a worthwhile investment if social media activity is your primary means of increasing interest.

(3) Ensure your website is consumer-friendly

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly in order to improve your customers’ experience, increase sales and propel your business forward. In addition, invest in increasing the visibility of your website on search engines. This could be achieved by commissioning strong editorial content or hiring a search engine optimisation expert. It has been reported  that 15 per cent of shoppers in the UK use a mobile device to shop, with ecommerce sales increasing year on year and 81 per cent of consumers researching products online prior to making a purchase. Therefore, it is vital that you invest in creating a business website that is up to scratch.

(4) Invest in the best people for your business

Intrapreneurial” staff – those with an entrepreneurial mindset who wish to work within a business – can prove to be invaluable for the future of your brand. This type of employee is more likely to provide new ideas or solutions, take risks to solve a problem, or experiment in order to drive the business forward. By driving growth at a quicker rate, they could be the secret to your firm’s success, so it is worth investing in the recruitment of this “special breed” of individual for long-term advantages.

(5) Develop both your own skills and those of your workforce

Additional training can help a business flourish by enabling it to expand into new areas, streamlining procedures, or reinforcing team camaraderie. Training is also a good means to retain staff as well as keep your employees motivated, lifting morale. As your business grows, it is important that your employees have the skills and knowledge to support your firm’s expansion. It’s not just your workers you should consider upskilling, but also yourself. As a business owner, you may find you have to work across a host of areas so going on a course or training programme can help you gain a thorough understanding of everything you may have to be involved with.

(6) Branch out to international markets

When considering expansion, factor in the costs of the initial research – trips to prospective markets to research competitors and your target customers and establishing trading networks, for instance. Your business activity could receive a substantial boost with the international marketing of your products and exports to a global customer base. It’s a worthwhile investment which could take your business to the next stage. Of the global population, the UK makes up a mere 0.88 per cent, so there is literally a world of further opportunity out there if you branch out beyond Britain’s borders.

With thorough assessment and planning, any additional funds received, regardless of size, can go a long way in giving your business a boost to the next level. In order to sustain business growth, be sure to conduct a thorough evaluation of the different areas within your business and target accordingly. Furthermore, don’t forget the stakeholders – staff, suppliers, customers – who underpin your company’s success. By showing your appreciation, you are not only bolstering these key relationships but shoring up continued support for years to come, and giving your company a human touch in an increasingly digital age.  The smallest changes in key areas can affect your enterprise’s long-term profitability and success for the better and help you to remain competitive in an ever-expanding marketplace.

If you’re considering DIY public relations, give this guide a read.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

David Poole is managing director of sales, UK South at FedEx Express and FedEx UK. FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to every US address, as well as more than 220 countries and territories. 

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