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A blog from Sage

If you’ve managed to get your business off the ground then it might be time to start planning for growth.

As part of an ongoing campaign to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, Sage has put together these valuable tips for growing a business:

- Scrutinize your finances

If you're looking to expand, examining your income and expenditure can offer you insight into potential opportunities for boosting your profit and saving money. 

Still using spreadsheets to track your finances? Swapping to accounting software could save you time and money, as well as minimising human error. Software also lets you create customised reports and view vital business information at a glance, making it easier to draw conclusions about the health of your business

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- Update your business plan

Now that your business has seen some success, it's time to review your business plan. Revisiting it will allow you to see how the latest innovations in technology, changes in the market and transformations among your competitors have had an impact on your business. Use this research to make predictions about your growth and update your plan accordingly.

If you're willing to evolve your business to match the market, you're much more likely to gain a competitive advantage, build your customer base and boost your profitability.

- Listen to your customers

With most customers on social media, it's now easier than ever to communicate with them. Gather their views on your current products and services, and use these insights to inform prospective future projects.
There's a reason why your customers have chosen your company over your competitors and you may be pleasantly surprised by their answers. What's more, this data can help you create an effective sales strategy for further growth.

- Create loyal customers

Identify your most valuable customers and tailor your services to encourage them to put in additional orders. Make recommendations based on their previous purchases and try to offer repeatable products and services where possible.

It's also beneficial to keep customers in the loop with regular updates about new products via newsletters, and to reward your most loyal customers with discounts and special offers.

- Talk to your suppliers

By now you should have a good relationship with your suppliers so use this to negotiate a better deal for your business. Suppliers can be a valuable resource for finding out when raw material prices are changing or which products are selling well.

Arranging discounts on bulk orders or delivery at cheaper, non-peak times can also help boost your profit. However, it's important to keep in mind that they are also running a business and don't push too hard or sour your relationship with them.

- Manage your cash flow cycle

Good cash flow may sound straightforward; all you need is more money coming into your business than going out. In reality, it's never as simple as that. More companies fail due to cash flow problems than for any other reason, so having a consistent cash flow is one of the most critical factors for successful growth.
At every stage of the cash flow cycle, there are steps you can take to help keep your business afloat and increase profitability:

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For more tips on sorting cash flow problems,managing income and expenditure as well as keeping on top of business taxes,check out Sage's Ultimate Guide to Basic Business Accounting.

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