Growing pains: How to scale a small business and survive

Almost 320,000 startups have been created in the UK so far this year according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs – that’s more than one a minute! This puts Britain well on target to see 600,000 new businesses created by the end of 2016, as anticipated by CFE’s Startup Britain campaign. Newcomers will be in good company, with the likes of London startup Deliveroo showing the possibilities for extraordinary growth in a short amount of time.

Our upcoming event, Start up to Scale up, is bringing ambitious business leaders and advisors together to explore this critical time for small firms. It’s a chance to investigate how to capitalise on growth opportunities and make step changes in operations to push an enterprise to the next stage, while managing some of the risks of scaling.

Leaders of great success stories will discuss their personal experiences, revealing how they made the leap from startup to serious scale. Speakers include:

  • Simon Bozzoli, Chief Executive, LDN Group

  • Alex Fagan, Managing Director, Beauchamps of London

  • Katrin Herrling, CEO & Co-Founder, Funding Xchange

  • Steve Renwick, Founder & CEO, Satago

There is no one path to growing a business, but there are some common steps worth considering:

Planning for scale from the start

There’s much to be said for thinking about what a growing, sustainable firm looks like from the very beginning, and building this into early decisions in everything from business model to funding. This can help prevent serious barriers to growth and give firms better options to choose from when the time comes to make each step up.


Generating sustainable sales

Every small business owner knows how important leads and cashflow are to survival – and many watch all-important conversion figures closely. An iterative approach can be useful to adapting and improving this process. Armed with information on what’s working and what isn’t, firms may be able to continue to improve their ratio of effort to results. The key is in learning what delivers consistent results and the most profitable and sustainable kind of work.


Managing the business to improve efficiency and deliver profits

Running a small business can sometimes feel like being a jack of all trades, and depending on a company’s size, may involve everything from staying on top of finances, to dealing with HR issues and day-to-day administration. Over time this can end up becoming a bottleneck.

Letting go of some tasks, and indeed some decisions, is often fundamental to scaling. This can mean hiring or outsourcing. The point is for the leader to do what only they can do and to concentrate on adding the most value them to build a team of directors and advisors that can together make everything else work.


Funding growth opportunities

Whether a business’ growth path lies in new markets, R&D, or simply new premises, funding is often required at certain points.
The number of options can be intimidating, from banks and grants and angels through to crowdfunding, friends and family, but the expansion of the alternative finance industry is good news for growing firms. See our blog on the pros and cons of different funding options for tips.


The circle of continuously adapting

Being able to adapt to changing legislation, fluctuating markets and demand and unforeseeable events such as flooding or staff departures, is crucial for continuing to grow over time.

Scaling up a business can be one of the most exciting times in an entrepreneur’s journey, and nailing the foundations at the start can help hit those great heights.

For details on more upcoming events, watch this space!


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