3 key ways to make your startup stand out from the crowd

3 ways to make your startup stand out from the crowd

Standing out from the competition is an essential component of small business growth. There are many ways to make your startup business stand out from the competition. If you want to be successful, it’s worth investing the time and effort to differentiate yourself.

Here are three simple ways you can do just that.

Exemplary customer service

Your customers are the backbone of your business. Without them, you’ll cease to trade. It’s as simple as that. It’s beyond important, then, that you are seen to make the effort to provide them with levels of customer service they can’t experience anywhere else.

You should be constantly examining every stage of the purchase process to see where improvements could be made. If you don’t have a wide enough selection of stock, you’re prone to putting customer complaints/questions on the back burner, or you have long queues – you’re not going to encourage customer loyalty.

Engage with all feedback

It can be difficult, but you should at every opportunity seek to engage with your customers. That includes customers who have a problem with your service, particularly. If you’re seen to politely and actively discuss issues with customers and work to a resolution, that will do wonders for your brand appeal.

Many businesses will do anything they can to avoid blame. If there’s any way they can wriggle out of responsibility for something going wrong, they will. If you make a mistake and you own it, however, then take steps to put it right, you’ll be noticed for it.

Be honest about yourself

Customers can spot business double-speak a mile away. And, it won’t surprise you, they don’t respond well to it. You’re far more likely to carve out a positive image for yourself if you’re known to be blunt and totally honest about the products/services you offer.

Don’t be rude, don’t take it too far and degrade your own stock – but put yourself in the shoes of someone browsing what you have for sale. What are the key things they want to know about the product and the purchase? Then, tell them the answers, truthfully.

Make your startup stand out – where to find out more

If you want to give your startup business a great chance of success, talk to us about how we can help with business finance for asset purchase, cash flow or business expansion.

Or contact us to discuss your new startup business requirements.

Image: Eine Frau hält eine Tasse Kaffee in beiden Händen über dem Schreibtisch by verchmarco licensed under Creative commons 4

Top tips for improving small business cash flow

Top tips for improving small business cash flow

As a small business, cash flow can be one of the most difficult hurdles to clear. Keeping a steady stream of money flowing through your business every month at a reliable rate is difficult. Doubly so when you’re faced with the multitude of other distractions that come with trying to grow your business. Here are three simple tips for improving small business cash flow.

Take advantage of software

There are a number of specifically designed pieces of software to help you keep your numbers clear every month. A quick Google search will give you a variety of options, depending on your business. A good place to start if you’re looking for something clean and simple to use is Cash Flow Manager.

Whichever piece of software you choose, it’ll allow you to keep track of the money that flows in and out of your business. This will give you a clear picture of anywhere that savings can be made, or where money is being tied up – for example, unpaid customer invoices. It will also help you form more accurate projections for the next month.

Vary your payment options

The marketplace has developed to the point where customers demand a variety of payment options for their purchases, and you have to keep up. It can seem like a big investment when you’re just starting out to get electronic and contactless payment terminals, but it’s an investment truly worth making.

Anything you can do to improve the convenience with which customers can pay will further encourage them to buy from you; it’s that simple. If you’re only going to accept cash/ cheques, you’re limiting your ability to take advantage of impulse purchases and bulk buying, both of which are essential for stimulating small business cash flow.

Be less forgiving

In the interest of forging customer relationships when you’re an SME, it can be tempting to extend the payment terms for loyal/ high-value customers. This can have a serious effect on your cash flow, however. So, if you want to maximise your earning potential, you’re going to have to learn to set stricter deadlines.

Improving small business cashflow – where to find out more

If you’d like some help improving your business cashflow – take a look at our Alternative Finance page and check out the Cash Flow solutions. Or get in touch to find out how we can help.

Why winter is the ideal time for business expansion for seasonal businesses

Business expansion in winter

As we continue to head towards the end of the year, the dark and the cold will have a significant effect on all businesses, as people will be less inclined to shop and buy in these conditions. The impact will be felt most by businesses geared to operating in the summer.

While you may feel as though your business has to close down over the winter, you shouldn’t stop thinking about business expansion, even if the customers are not coming through the door; the winter is the best time to plan and enact your business expansion. Our experts at Tower Leasing tell you why:

1. Physical change won’t affect trade

Having significantly fewer customers actively using your services will have a detrimental impact on your revenue, but it does mean that you can use this time effectively for making any physical expansion changes to your business. Whether this literally means adding an additional room to your shop or office, installing new machinery, or taking your website down temporarily for an expansionary update, it’s best to do these things at a time when they won’t impact on trade or overall customer experience.

2. Plan and implement strategy

Along with making physical changes, you can also use this time to create and envisage strategies for your future business expansion. Not only can you plan your next moves when trading increases again, but you can also lay the foundations of the next season through marketing and promotion. The downtime will allow for you to spread your brand name and message through the local area, while also setting up business deals for the coming busy season.

3. Additional contingency time

Business expansion doesn’t always go smoothly – there can be problems. By undertaking the process during a less busy period, your business has contingency time should things go wrong. Whether this means seeking alternative finance or looking for new suppliers, you have the time to solve problems before they escalate, allowing for a more successful expansion overall. It also means that any delays which occur won’t adversely affect customer trading or consumer experience, removing this distraction when trying to find a solution.

Far from being a time of little business operation, winter is the ideal opportunity for business expansion, so businesses should make sure they don’t waste it!

Business expansion in winter – where to find out more

If you’d like to expand your business this winter, but need help with finance, please get in touch, we can help.

To find out more about the business expansion finance we can help with, please visit our Finance for my Business page.

Image: Winter Road by Pavel P. licensed under Creative commons 4

Photo: Winter Road by Pavel P. licensed under Creative commons 4

Mistakes to avoid when your business is trying to expand

Business expansion mistakes to avoid

All SMEs look to expand at some point. Successful expansion means greater revenue, more staff, a greater outreach, and more brand recognition. While there are many potential benefits of a successful expansion, expanding in the right way can be a challenge, especially if it is the businesses’ first time attempting large-scale growth. As such, it’s not uncommon for businesses to make mistakes when expanding, which end up proving costly. At Tower Leasing, we’ve seen many expansion attempts, and want to share our wisdom on what not to do with you. In this article we look at business expansion mistakes you should avoid.

1. Failing to understand what your customers want

Diversification and expansion into new business areas can prove to be a real opportunity, especially if you link them to your original services. It can mean that customers use your business for multiple services, encouraging repeat custom, while also increasing your brand name in different sectors. However, there’s no point investing in alternative sectors if that’s not what your clients need or want. Before any expansion, it’s vital that you understand your customers and what they expect from you.

2. Not using a specific action plan

Even if you have a great idea for business expansion, it’s unlikely to be successful if you don’t have a credible action plan for how to achieve your end goal. All plans must be specific, actionable and broken down into easy to follow steps, to ensure that nothing has been missed. Without a proper plan, you’re unlikely to take a direct course to your end goal, missing out on a great opportunity.

3. Forgetting the need to finance the expansion

Business expansion can be costly but will prove a great return on investment if done properly. Before expansion, you must fully consider your cash flow reserves, and establish if you need to find additional money from somewhere else. There are many options of funding available such as business loans or alternative finance, so even if your cash flow is lacking, you can still look to expand and can make it a success with the right finance deal.

Business expansion mistakes – where to find out more

If you want to expand your business but need help with finance, please get in touch, we can help.

To find out more about the business expansion finance we can help with, please visit our Finance for my Business page.

Image: Red Cross by Peter Hellberg licensed under Creative commons 5

3 reasons your small business should offer customer finance packages

3 reasons your small business should offer customer finance packages

For an SME, it can be a daunting prospect to consider customer finance packages. You may think that allowing customers to purchase your products using finance is a passport to a headache, but the truth is actually completely the opposite; there are many benefits. Here are 3 reasons your small business should offer customer finance packages,

Wider customer appeal

There will always be customers who want to buy your products but can’t afford to. As a startup, you want to make sure as many people as possible can purchase what you have to offer because it allows you to develop a more secure cash flow in a shorter space of time.

It also engenders a great deal of customer appreciation in your brand. A customer is more likely to be loyal to a business which has been able to offer them a more affordable way to purchase something they really wanted or needed, which benefits you in the long run.

Better business perception

Finance is something only big companies offer, right? That’s the common perception, at least. The reality is quite different; even if you’re the only person working in your business, you can work with Tower Leasing to offer your customers excellent packages.

The perception, however, is of a business that’s making a mark on the marketplace and enjoying a great deal of success. Customers are more likely to do business with brands they feel have a degree of experience, and offering finance packages will allow you to bypass that perception of new business uncertainty.

Easy set up

Another key benefit to consider is the fact that, in reality, you won’t have to do anything at all if you work with an experienced and well-regarded finance company. You enter into an arrangement with them and then they will do all of the heavy lifting to develop and implement your finance packages.

It’s a really beneficial service all businesses should consider, with all the tools and paperwork you need, there’s no time spent working out repayment terms, there’s no need to spend hours chasing up clients who haven’t paid on time – all you need to do is focus on building your business the way you want to build it!

Customer finance packages – where to find out more

If you’d like to talk to us about offering customer finance packages, please get in touch.

Or you can read more about offering customer finance packages on our website.

Image: 3D Piggy Bank by ccPixs.com licensed under Creative commons 4

What SMEs need to know about successful business expansion

What SMEs need to know about successful business expansion

Business expansion is the ultimate goal for any SME. To achieve growth from a small number of clients in a local area to a national, or even international level is sought after by every company with dreams of making it big. Not only does growth of this size mean significantly increased profits, but it also represents brand awareness, and the knowledge that something you created and nurtured has been successful. However, business expansion is often the most challenging period of a business’ life, and a wrong move here can have disastrous consequences. As such, we have listed some of the most important things you need to know about achieving successful business expansion for your SME.

1. Ensure you have customer loyalty

It costs up to three times more money to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones, so having loyal customers gives you a solid sales foundation if you are looking to divert money into business expansion. Creating customer loyalty programmes is a great way to keep existing customers, as well as also recruiting new ones because of the scheme. This gives you a solid sales figure base on which to make more accurate and precise forecasting decisions.

2. Identify your key demographics

By understanding your target audience properly, you can make better judgments about how and what to sell, as well as branding and marketing campaigns. Equally, by understanding what resonates with your key clientele, you will be more likely to discover new opportunities that will help with your business growth. It also means there will be less time, money and resources wasted on trying to convert people who are unlikely to be interested in your services.

3. Examine your finance levels

Initially, it is likely that business expansion will end up costing you significant amounts of capital. Whether this is investing in new property, machinery or employees, you need to ensure that you have the finances to make the expansion successful, as well as having some funds in reserve as a caveat. In some cases, it is well worth considering business finance as a means to ensure you have the funding available for successful expansion.

Business expansion – where to find out more

If you’d like some help with obtaining finance to expand your SME, please get in touch, we’d be happy to help

Or visit our alternative funding page to find out more about the different finance solutions we can offer.

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