When should you invest in growth?

Invest in growth

Business is going well. Your customers are happy and the money’s coming in. But sales have plateaued. They’re not terrible – but nor are they setting the world alight. Is it time to invest in an ambitious growth strategy for your business?

Figuring out when the moment is right, can be difficult. 

Try to grow your business too soon and you might falter. Leave it too late and you might have missed the perfect opportunity (and they don’t come along that often).

To help you pick the right time to grow, follow these steps.

Understand your financial limits

One of the biggest barriers for business growth is finances. It’s almost impossible to expand without spending a bit of money. So your first step should be to review your current financial situation – both professional and personal – to understand what the limits are.

Depending on your business’s cash flow situation, you might not have enough working capital available to invest. In this situation, you have two main choices – dig into your personal savings or consider financing.

If you decide to go down the financing route, there are a number of options to choose from:

  • Small business loan – you can borrow a lump sum and repay it over a few months or a few years. If you expect your growth plans to pay off relatively quickly, a short-term loan might be the best option as you can clear the debt quickly.
  • Merchant cash advance – someone effectively buys a percentage of your future sales in return for a cash advance. The main benefit of a merchant cash advance is that there’s no deadline for paying it off, as the repayments fluctuate based on your sales volume.
  • Equity finance – you can sell shares in your business in return for extra capital. As well as getting someone else on board who might come with their own expertise and experience, You’re also getting the cash you need. But you’ll also be losing a certain degree of control.

Each option comes with its own pros and cons. Take no decision lightly and do your research before making a financing commitment

Identify your goals

Start by identifying what your high level goals are. These will determine the steps you take in order to get there. Refer to your annual forecast to understand where you are in achieving these goals, and the rate at which your business will grow before considering investment. 

Evaluate the different areas of your business and set monthly and annual targets against them. 

Creating measurable targets will allow you to reflect on performance and where your need areas are. Small changes can, over time, have a large impact on your future profitability. 

Review your workload – and your team

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself whether you can do it alone – or with your current workforce. Investing in growth takes more than cashflow, it requires more hours and potentially, additional skill set. This may take shape with additional training, enrolling team members on relevant courses, or outsourcing the extra help. 

The benefits of upskilling your workforce are definitely worth considering, especially with retention and productivity in mind. Empowering your team will not only boost these aspects of your business, it’ll also have a knock on effect on your brand’s reputation. 

Inspiring brand loyalty within your team is an excellent exercise to propel your business forward. You have the power to strengthen your business’ relationships through your team members, which will help establish and maintain your brand’s voice. 

Are you ready to take the next step? 

As you will have seen, much of it depends on you. You’ve considered your finances and identified your goals, you’ve also measured how much of the work can be done with the team you have. 

The question left to ask yourself is whether you are ready to make the commitment – or if you’re happy with where your business is right now.