As you would have heard numerous times, we live in a fast moving world especially where business is concerned. New today, obsolete tomorrow. Selling your product/service is more about reaching out to your customers unlike when, it used to be the other way round. This however, could be very challenging when you are stretched and have limited resources or at least not unlimited. There’s a never ending list of tips on what every small business owner should know. However, I’d like to focus on 5 tips which is a good place to start. Please note this is practical advice for real results from feedback from businesses we have worked with.
1. Know your market (Have an online presence). Retain your current customers or clients with the most efficient form of marketing. A smooth operation leads to smoother growth. If your clients or customers are happy, you will be their first go-to and they will be more than happy to recommend you without realizing they are actually advertising your business for you. However, there needs to be a stable balance between gaining new customers (via marketing) and retaining current customers (via operations). To gain further insight into this area, have a look at our quick guide on how to develop your business performance strategies.
Effective sales and marketing lies at the heart of any successful business growth and helps to achieve business goals. Your system of marketing will very much depend on your products / services and your target market. Some businesses feel they don’t need a target market. In this day and age, for any business to grow, it needs to have a system of marketing which is geared towards its market. This could mean having an online presence, inbound marketing, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. An intelligent investment in marketing will ensure stability and growth, if combined with strong customer retention. This will therefore help in making your business sustainable and therefore also compete effectively. Our Business Consultants at RBSS will help ensure your marketing goals align with your business goals.
2. Hire the right staff. This includes knowing your weaknesses and hiring the right staff including professionals to help put the right systems in place. Richard Branson emphasizes on this throughout his business book; ‘Like a virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School’ This could mean outsourcing which will give you more objective ideas from a different prospective (your customer/client’s prospective), including those you and your staff may have never thought of or procrastinated on.
3. Know your finance options. The truth of the matter is that, whether you are a start-up business or an existing business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way, alongside the right plan. But asking for money isn’t often that simple or easy to obtain. This includes knowing what each available option has to offer, such as business angels, equity funding, bank loan etc. Any funder, be it a business loan, equity finance or any other kind of finance will want to see a business plan and financial projections, to help them decide if investing in your idea is going to be a profitable one, or not. Some alternative funders don’t require a business plan, but carry out their assessments in a different manner. The business advisors at RBSS Consulting in Romford, Essex, help companies of all sizes get finance ready. They will also give you various options open to you. Our aim will be to help you get the right business finance, at the right rate and the right time and aim to make it as least daunting as possible.
4. Understand your product/service. Many experts agree that you need to know your product or service ‘like the back of your hand’. That is so true when people want immediate answers and you have to ‘sell yourself’. This does not pertain to you alone but your staff. There is no use having a sales person on the floor in a restaurant that does not understand what’s on the menu when a customer asks for advice. They may know what’s on the menu but not understand it. You may be the chef who owns the business but be in the kitchen. In other words you (and your staff) have to prove to be the expert in your field and you can’t afford to get questions wrong either! Knowing and understanding your product/service which is your brand should also determine your purpose, mission and values which should serve as your guide to your decisions and what you hope to accomplish in the future, which also comprises what you stand for; hence your ‘pitch’. You should truly represent your brand, keep learning more about your product/service continuously and improving it along the way by keeping yourself abreast on how to better it and therefore bring more satisfaction to your customers/clients which brings us to my next point.
5. Understand your competitors. There is often a lot of competition regardless of which industry you are in or decide to venture into. Although this again depends on your product/service. Whatever the case may be, the only way you can be ahead of the game is by knowing what your competitors are doing and aiming to deliver beyond them or something different that will bring more satisfaction to your customers/clients. Going on line, visiting your competitors’ shops. Our researchers at RBSS Consulting Ltd will help you research your local competition. We will do more than check out their websites. We will visit your competition in person, book appointments with them and see how they run their businesses. Ask them their challenges and pain-points. This in-depth research will only make your business more viable and ready to start, continue or expand your business with what you need to know as a business owner.
If you can identify with any of the 5 tips or more or require further insight into these key areas to help your company start and grow or you just want someone with the required knowledge and experience in business please connect with our business advisers at RBSS Consulting Ltd on 0333 355 1696 or drop us an email on the link below. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
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There are numerous tips on how to succeed in business for start-ups. However this is practical advice for real results from feedback from businesses we have worked with and ours:
1. Business planning
2. Test Marketing
3. Right Finance
1. A good way to kick start this guide is to state the obvious. Most successful Entrepreneurs who don’t start with a Business Plans do one early on into the start of their business – That’s because they realise it’s a good idea. In fact, businesses always start with a business plan, but maybe just not in the way of a formal one. A Business Plan is a document setting out a business's future operational, marketing and financial objectives and strategies for achieving them. Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” A business plan doesn’t guarantee success, but aids it. On the other hand Winston Churchill also said “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.
From our experience, it appears many people seem to think that setting up a business has more to do with talent and experience than planning. However, keeping your business plan alive is what we say is mandatory. There is no use doing one and then filing it away, just to tick that box. It’s a live document. The business plan serves as a guide for keeping the business on the right track. It also lays bare ideas and opportunities you may not have previously thought of. However, you should not be rigid with the Business Plan. It can be altered to align with changes within the company or economy itself. It serves as a roadmap to success. You can have a 1 year or up to 3 year business plan. In fast moving industries, looking beyond a year is irrelevant. It’s advisable to renew your plan at least every 3 years. That way you incorporate new ideas and do away with the old before they become obsolete.
2. Where possible, test marketing is essential for any business in order to keep abreast of the trends in their particular industry. If you can’t test the market, then take up the concept of lean startup. This is about being less wasteful and still providing a service or product that is meaningful. Given that test marketing comprises of real-life buying and selling without the buyers being aware of their participation as being in a test market situation, it gives the company involved a real feel for the demands of that particular industry. This helps in Business Modelling & Planning and a real eye opener in addressing business’s strategies to improve business performance.
However, developing a finished product is often very time-consuming and could be capital-intensive, it could therefore be a real negative if it misses the mark or does not reach its intended target and profit. The Lean Startup (which is an approach to building new businesses or innovations where entrepreneurs investigate, experiment, test and iterate as they develop products) works around this issue through the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and a concept known as the Pivot. This involves an early prototype model or service being produced and available to prospective customers who are savvy enough to understand the company's vision and willing to offer feedback on the product or service. The idea is for the company to avoid, as early as possible, building a product or service that customers do not want. This is referred to as the build-measure-learn feedback loop. In the pivot, a business hypothesis about the product and the business model or engine of growth is tested. If it does not pass the test, a corrective course of action is taken or the prototype model is completely dropped.
3. Right Finance. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of any business especially early stage businesses and start-ups. However, obtaining the right finance is crucial and the backbone to any business. It is essential businesses get the right start up finance at the beginning of their businesses and in the future based on their business financial projections and availability. Getting the business financial projection correct is essential as this could determine the kind of finance and access to finance required, which would also determine the repayment rate and\or terms and conditions. Many new businesses aka Start Ups over project their profits and therefore get easily sucked into business loans with inappropriate repayment terms when this could have been easily avoided.
Whether you are a start-up business or an existing business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way, alongside the right business plan. Whatever, the case might be, it is vital. At RBSS, our experienced and professional consultants can help you start right or if you are an existing business help you with the correct financial projections and help raise the right finance appropriate for your business.
If you require further insight into these key areas to help your company start and grow or you just want someone with the required knowledge and experience in business please connect with our business advisers at RBSS Consulting Ltd on 0333 355 1696 or drop us an email on the link below. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
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Every business whether start-up or existing micro, small, medium or large enterprise, needs expert and valuable business advice. That’s where RBSS steps in. We provide a full diagnostic on areas of your business or field you may not have thought about, but are important. A business consultant can also be an excellent sounding board to help get you out of some very tricky situations. Some business solutions are ways to raising finance, business valuation and health checks, business planning , growth strategies, profitability and efficiency strategies, business modelling etc. These services are available to both start-ups and existing businesses.
In this blog I will focus on 4 key areas a consultant can add value to your business:
1. Finance ready
Finance is the bloodline of businesses. Without finance there is no business! Most business want to grow and profitably too. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) states that up 40% of small and medium businesses fail within the first year and a further 30% within three years. It’s been proven that part of the reasons for business failures is lack of understanding business finance and business support, amongst other things. Our Business Consultants at RBSS will help you combat the key areas to get financial backing at the best rate and from the best source that suits your business needs. This may be business loans (which includes Start up loans) or equity funding (whichever funding suits your business best). Help to become finance ready is crucial to put you in the best position possible for funding.
2. Understanding your competition
Let’s imagine that you want to open a pub in Romford. After doing your research you realise that there are 20 pubs within a five-mile radius. How are you going to make your pub stand out? What niche markets do the other bars feature? Some will target millennials, whilst others rely on entertainment etc to thrive. Our researchers at RBSS will help you research your local competition.
We will do more than check out their websites. We will invite you to visit your competition in person, book appointments with them and see how they run their businesses. Ask them their challenges and pain-points. This in-depth research will only make your business more viable. You can then mitigate the threats and leverage the opportunities. These pointers will stand out more with our thorough Business Valuation and Health Checks.
3. Personal visits
Being a consultant is about giving practical information, advice and guidance based on facts and figures. Nowadays, clients expect a bit more and would like a Business Consultant to make it more personal. At RBSS our Business Consultants will visit and get a one-to-one, hands-on sense of how your business is running where feasible. This way, we can see beyond the surface and be able to advise and help beyond what you may deem as the challenges. We will be happy to revisit or have you visit us, whether it be in person, telephone or Skype etc. to ensure you are where you want to be and staying on top.
4. Problem solving and business strategy
Business Consultants also possess great problem-solving skills to provide solutions and recommendations that will increase profitability and efficiency, which is the backbone to any business. Strategy can be over-emphasised, but a lack of it can also be bad news for any business. You can only stumble around in the dark for so long. At some point, sooner rather than later if you have managed to survive, your business will need a clear strategy.
Business consultants can help you with strategies that achieve your goals. Be that growth, profitability or operational improvements.
These are all areas that will add to your businesses bottom line. So if you can resonate with any of the areas covered above or any other business related issues at all, get in touch.
For more insight on the services our experienced and professional Business Consultants In Romford provide, please feel free to call, skype or complete the form below:
Whether you are a start-up business or a business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way. But asking for money isn’t that simple. Any money lender will want to see a thorough business case and financial projections, to help them decide if investing in your idea is going to be a profitable one, or not. The business advisors at RBSS Consulting in Romford, Essex, help companies of all sizes get finance ready. Here is our four-step process that we will take you through.
1. Business Goals and Mission Statement
You’ve decided to take the plunge and begin the rewarding journey of entrepreneurship. Self-employment or starting your own business is a noble calling and is not for everyone. Do you want to sell products, services or both? What are your business goals? Do you have a mission statement? If you don’t have answers to these questions, not to worry. RBSS will help you define your business goals and mission statement. This is a necessary and vital step in creating a business plan. When networking or attending a social event, when people ask you, ‘What do you do?’ you will have a clearly defined answer formulated.
Entrepreneurs often work in solitude without having anyone to bounce ideas off of. Our business consultants are here to help you flesh out your concepts. It’s one thing to repeat your objectives to yourself or even write them down on paper. It’s a completely different ball game when you communicate your thoughts out loud to someone who can give you feedback. A mundane scheme can become revolutionary. You may be leaving money on the table by not considering other ways to diversify your product or service offerings. By diversifying, you increase your market share. A larger market share is usually indicative of more revenue and what business owner doesn’t want more revenue!
3. Research Demographic and Competition
Who is your demographic? Where are they located? How will you reach them? What are their spending habits? These are just a few of the questions we will ask you so that you can eventually build a profitable enterprise. Many novice entrepreneurs make the mistake of asking these questions after they’ve had their soft opening. If the right questions are posed and answered before opening, businesses would last longer and be of greater good to society. Are there other businesses like yours in the area you plan to serve? Do these businesses serve the same target group? Our expert business consultants will help you pinpoint your digital and brick and mortar competition.
4. Business Plan
Perhaps your parents will lend you money without a business plan, but a bank won’t. An investor, whether a bank, angel or venture capitalist worth their salt will need to see a clearly defined and well-executed business plan before they will even consider your solution and give you access to finance. All of the research results and questions answered will go into your business plan. This plan will be clearly formatted with every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, complete with graphics, tables and examples. If you’re not a finance person, we have a consultant on staff that can generate your financial statements. This business plan will be the key in your success towards acquiring financing.
5. Due Diligence
There are the mundane but necessary things to make sure you have in place and up to date. They are the more legal requirements that we have to make sure you have in place. They relate more to the directors or owners of the company. This is in order to comply with the Anti Money Lending and Know Your Customer rules. They are the proof of identification, proof of address, a few months’ business bank statements and sometimes a CV for the directors. In some cases you may be asked for a credit report. We do this to make sure that these things don’t end up being the stumbling blocks after all the hard work has been done. Again, don’t worry about a thing. An RBSS Business Advisor will help you make sense of all this on a one to one basis.
What type of finance can RBBS Consulting help you get access to?
There are a number of ways for you to raise finance for your business. Here we explore the common avenues:
If you want to find out more about these options, they are explained on our Raising Finance page.
What's stopping you? Call the business consultants at RBSS now to help you get your business finance ready.