There are constant challenges affecting small to medium businesses, which can make it seem difficult to grow and expand.

While we don’t necessarily reflect on how larger, well-known brands and businesses have got to where they are today, it’s important to remember that many will have been in the same position you are now as an SME owner a few years ago.

Studies such as a recent one conducted by the European Union have shown that companies who participate in cross-border activities are more successful than those who concentrate solely on home markets. As much as 40% of businesses revenue comes from international business and is said to increase by 36% over the next three years.

Success can be the product of expansion, and here at ICS, we want to try to help as much as possible. Therefore, here are just four of the numerous ways you can begin to focus on expanding and getting your SME where you have always dreamt.

Organise your finances

Having your house in order is important before embarking on a project. Investing to grow can require capital investment, so presenting the best financial picture of your business is important.

Trying to handle the growth of a business while juggling the burden of accounting and admin isn’t an easy job. It takes up your valued time, and ensuring your finances are properly managed is vital to your business.

To enable you to focus all your efforts on your growth strategy and a plan moving forward, you could hire an accountant who will help you keep on top of the numbers and allow you to focus on your new venture.

Adopt Technology to Find Innovation

Technology is everywhere. Our phones could run our lives if needs be, and whether we like it or not, technology is the way our lives are heading. If you were ever in search for a new job, you would head to your local newspaper, pen at the ready, to circle your choices. Now, we take to online platforms or even social media networks to discover new and exciting opportunities.

Technology is truly leading the race and if business owners know how to use it, it could be used to their advantage to help them expand. The use of technology can assist in conveying your organisation as professional and reliable to any prospective customers. Everything from the design of your website to the software being used to manage your finances and even how you answer the phone are factors of technology to be aware of.

As with technology, the same goes for adopting new products and services, utilising growth of technology for your existing market. As technology develops, so does the amount of possibilities available to you and your business. Take advantage of the opportunities which may arise through your existing market and technology and you could expand.

Get a Growth Strategy in Place

While it may seem all well to rush out, hire a marketing agency, get a new website built and set financial goals for the forthcoming years, there are many factors to consider before jumping in head first; and a growth strategy should be at the top of that list.

Your growth strategy will consist of many questions to ask yourself, such as “where are you now?” “where do you want to be?” and “how are you going to get there?” The answer to these questions will be unique to every SME and there is no right answer.

Only half of small businesses and start-ups survive more than five years and only one third make it to ten years. Don’t let your business be in this statistic; get a growth strategy. There is much guidance and advice in the online world regarding this; just take a look at this handy article.

When putting together your growth strategy, keep in mind the different markets in which you could take your product or service into. However, you first need to define your current target market and then define your new ones. Above all, don’t forget about research; the more research you do the better. This article may help.

Partnerships and Relationships

When thinking of expanding a business, relationships are key. Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?

Building partnerships with people in your industry and with professionals who could assist you in your growth could really help you on your way.

Relationships within a business can vary and include everyone from customers to employees, to your lawyer and your sales or marketing professional. Make sure you leverage your existing clients and contacts as this can lead to referrals and possible increased income. However, it also includes relationships you don’t have yet.

Not only does building new partnerships and relationships create a positive view of your business within the surrounding area and industry, but it can also build loyalty and create a positive image for your growth.

Here at ICS, we offer a range of comprehensive accounting and taxation services for SME’s for a fixed monthly fee, which frees up your time to focus on driving and growing your business. If you are thinking about expanding your SME or putting a growth strategy in place, get in touch with our expert team today who would be more than happy to help.