Identify skills gaps that are stopping you from scaling up

You’ve been running your business for a while and it’s going well. Now it’s time to scale up and take your business to the next level. But to do that successfully, it’s important that you have the right skills at your disposal.

In this blog, we look at how to do a skills gap analysis so you can meet your business needs.

(more…)

Choose the right business software for your scale-up business

When you first started your business, you probably managed very well with basic Excel spreadsheets and even pen and paper for keeping records and planning ahead. But as your business grows, you may benefit from dedicated software, developed with businesses like yours in mind.

In this blog, we look at the importance of having the right software when you’re scaling up your business, and consider some areas you could automate to make your business run more efficiently.

Why is it important to have the right business software?

When your business gets beyond a certain size, low-tech solutions can be inefficient. By investing time and money in the right business software, you’ll make savings in the long run. You won’t be taken away from your core business to balance the books or rummage for a customer’s contact details – your software can take care of that for you.

Finance and accounting software for scale-up businesses

Accountancy apps like Xero and Quickbooks are a great solution for the day to day running of your business. They are quick and easy to use, and connect to your business bank account. They allow you to:

  • keep up with invoices and expenses
  • pay bills
  • claim expenses
  • accept payments
  • track projects
  • manage payroll
  • complete bank reconciliation
  • manage your inventory

Many of the Get Ahead regional directors use Xero and Quickbooks. They find the apps make finance really clear, while reminders help them stay on top of invoicing and reconciliation. You will probably need an accountant as well to guide you through financial reporting and tax, but having an accounting app is a great way to stay on top of your regular admin.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software for scale-up businesses

As your client base grows, it can become harder to keep track of who’s who and what they need from you. Is that the new client or the one with the repeat order? Do you deal with them directly or are they a conduit to a larger project? And where did you put their phone number?!

Many start-ups use an Excel spreadsheet to record client information. However, as your business scales up, you’ll need something with greater functionality, and which is secure and reliable too. A CRM system like Hubspot is a great solution.

Social media scheduling software for scale-up businesses

Social media is free marketing for businesses. If you’re not marketing your business through social media, you really should be.

However, social media can be very time consuming. For example, you might go onto Facebook to post to your business page, get distracted and lose an hour of your working day. Don’t worry – we’ve all done it! Fortunately, there is a solution. Social media scheduling means you can plan all your posts for a week or even a month, and then let them roll out one by one without you having to log in during working hours. Our social media experts use platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer to deliver regular, on-brand posts for Get Ahead’s clients.

You will still need to keep on top of comments and testimonials, but at least you can rely on consistent social media to shout about your business online.

Get Ahead supports scale-up businesses

The team at Get Ahead use various pieces of software to keep businesses running smoothly, and we are always delighted to share our experience with clients. New software can take time to get used to, but we feel it’s well worth the investment. Our team of virtual experts can guide you through the new challenges and even set the software up for you – all you’ll see is a more efficient way of working.

To find out more, visit our services page or speak to your local regional director.

How to create a business growth plan for a seamless scale-up

A while ago, your business was a start-up. But now it’s a scale-up. How do you know? Well, if you’re turning away clients or customers because you don’t have the capacity, it could be time to scale up your business so that you can meet demand. And if you’re already reaching your goals easily, scaling up will give you greater profits as well as a greater challenge.

To ensure a seamless scale-up, it’s a good idea to write a business growth plan. In this blog, we look at how to write an effective business growth plan and what information you should include.

Decide how far you want to take the business during this phase

Theoretically, the sky is the limit when it comes to business growth. However, when you’re planning, it’s much easier, smarter and more effective to pin down how far you want to take the business over the next period, and how you’re going to do it. This will help you to stay focused, and means you only say yes to business that is going to take you in your planned direction.

Choose your growth indicators carefully

It’s also a good idea to decide how you’re going to measure the business growth. Scaling up your business may well require investment, such as new team members and new equipment, which will affect your overall figures. Remember to break your figures down. Look at the increase in business, but also calculate how much it will cost to get you there. Consider whether those sums add up.

You might also like to consider whether you’re only going to measure growth in financial terms, or include other factors too. Depending on your business, you might like to include customer satisfaction or improved turnaround times. Non-financial indicators help you identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies for the future.

Identify how to move your business forward, and what you need to achieve it

Once you’ve decided how far to take your business in the next year, it’s time to think about how you’re going to do it. You might choose to launch a new product or service to appeal to a new market. Alternatively, you might develop what you already offer in order to retain existing customers and upsell to them. You might keep doing exactly what you do now, only in more locations. We chose to franchise Get Ahead and it proved to be the right move for our business.

Whatever approach you choose, you’ll have to research your additional direction, market it, produce it and sell it. You might even need to consider rebranding, or using different channels to connect with a different type of client.

You can read more about launching new products here.

Be ready to react

Depending on the sort of business you have, external factors might affect your business growth. For example, all businesses learned a lot from the coronavirus pandemic. While covid brought some businesses to their knees, it also created opportunities for others.  

If you operate internationally, for instance, your work could be affected by exchange rates. If you have a complex supply chain, your products and prices could be affected by market fluctuations.

Difficult situations can create new opportunities too. We all know that Zoom grew enormously during the pandemic, but did you know that Marks and Spencer helped develop the UK’s World War II rationing strategy? Unexpected need for your product, service or expertise could help your business grow.

Savvy business owners incorporate flexibility into their business growth plans, to ensure they are ready to react to changing situations.

Business development for scale-up businesses

We love helping businesses make the move from start-up to scale-up. To find out more about how we can help you grow your business, contact your local regional director.

Trade shows – what to consider before you sign up

At Get Ahead, we love business exhibitions. We love the energy in the room and we love meeting people. It’s exciting to learn about the latest industry trends, and some of our most productive relationships have been started at expos.

However, expos are not for everyone. They are great marketing tools, but they are not a magic spell to double your business or become the market leader. You might get a lot out of attending an expo, or you might not. In this blog, we look at what to consider before you sign up.

(more…)

After the expo – top tips for effective follow-ups

Busy expos are tiring, but the work doesn’t finish when you take your stand down. It’s important to keep the momentum going by following up with the people you met at the expo as soon as you can. If you don’t follow up, some of your work at the expo will be wasted – a real shame when you consider how much you’ve invested in the event.

Here are our top tips for effective follow ups:

(more…)

How does Get Ahead support clients at business expos?

Regular followers of Get Ahead will know that we love an expo, and our regional directors have really enjoyed getting back out to promote the business. But did you know that we also support our clients before, during and after business expos? An expo is a big commitment, but with our help, clients can get more from the event and embrace all the opportunities it gives them.

Here’s how Get Ahead supports businesses at expos.

(more…)

Ideas for effective business expo promotions

Promotions, competitions and giveaways can create a real buzz around your business expo stand, both in the real world and online. However, it’s important to put thought into your promo so it works for your business and isn’t just a gimmick.

In this blog, we look at how to plan promos and pass on some ideas that work too!

(more…)