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Can You Grow A Small Business In A Rural Area?

Make Your Business Grow

For any small business owner reading online advice on how to grow a business, they’re likely to have come across success stories all about how small businesses have grown their revenues and operations. But often these stories are recounting the successes of small businesses in cities, which raises an important question: can you make your business grow in a rural area?

First off, the short answer: yes, you can. The longer answer: small, rural businesses can either make or break the growth of the UK economy. However, there are also unique challenges that you will face when attempting to make your business grow in rural areas when compared to your city counterparts. As such, businesses in such areas do have the ability to grow; but growth is not guaranteed. Firstly, there are a number of reasons why rural areas offer such transformative prospects. Take, for example, businesses within the manufacturing industries. These businesses are best suited to being located in rural areas due to the crowded nature of cities and how this can affect operations. With local airports now being prevalent across the UK, and road links always improving, it has never been easier to deliver to both domestic and international clients and customers from a rural area. It is these external changes that can offer the most opportunity to rural small businesses. With the UK population continually on the rise, our rural population has also increased. The population of England increased 10.8% between 2001 and 2015; while rural areas saw a 9.5% increase during the same period. So one of the major ways to make your business grow is to take advantage of external changes happening around your small business.

But there are also threats to rural small businesses too. Many high street banks in smaller towns have closed in favour of remote and online banking. This has changed the way that some small business owners manage and access their finances. Some have adapted to these changes; others have not. Then there are problems that can occur with communications. Whereas small businesses in the city can rely on being able to centre their business around the internet, there are still many poorly connected rural areas around the UK where mobile internet and even broadband coverage is poor. Then there are staffing issues and the ability to attract talented staff. With a limited employee pool at their disposal, rural business owners need to rely on employees who may not be best for a position. Many of these problems can hinder small businesses – especially small businesses that are mature. People moving into a rural area and starting up a small business tend to have more success locally, nationally and internationally – so much so that there are more start-ups per head of population in rural areas versus urban areas. But how to make a small business grow that is a start-up is different from how to make a successful business that is mature.

For this reason, if you are operating a long-standing small business and you want to make your business grow, it could be a good idea to consult with a mentor specialising in small business growth. It is possible to find such mentors who are able to provide small business advice UK wide to those in rural areas.

Exports Could Be The Key To Growing Your Small Business

Help For Small Businesses UK

When consulting stats on the long-term success of small businesses, it is clear that growth is one of the most important factors when it comes to the sustainability of a mature small business. When one considers how to grow a business, they will often seek out gurus who provide help for small businesses UK wide. A mentor can help open your eyes to new opportunities – one of which is the possibility of exporting goods and services.

As of 2016, approximately 60% of small businesses in the UK were not exporting abroad. There were a number of factors relating to why so many businesses were tentative about exporting. Reasons cited by small business entrepreneurs were language barriers, custom costs and a lack of market knowledge. It is clear that ‘knowledge’ (or lack thereof) is a key barrier to many small business owners in taking such a chance. But risk can be an important part of how to make a successful business. And often ‘risks’ are classed as such purely because a business owner does not have the knowledge to identify and differentiate a risk that can pay off from a risk that is equatable to buying a lottery ticket. Let’s take custom costs as an example. According to the Royal Mail, the price of most international orders are below the threshold for custom duty charges. Despite this, 26% of small business owners identified this as a barrier to exporting. So a lack of knowledge leads to missed opportunities. Amongst those small businesses selling abroad, it was thought that 25% of their sales during the Christmas period were from international buyers. So if you want to grow your business, think of selling internationally.

As of 2017, things are very different. Now, it is thought that 63% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are exporting. This has been largely due to small businesses making good on a declining pound. But is this extra revenue stream to make up for poor domestic performance? Well, of those SMEs who were exporting, just under a third of these businesses had experienced an increase in revenue over a 12 month period; with a third of these businesses also expected to grow in the coming year. Who says you can’t grow in an economy fuelled by political uncertainty? It isn’t just EU businesses and individuals that have traded with UK SMEs, but also businesses in the U.S., Australia and India – the latter of which is an emerging market that offers terrific opportunities for small businesses to grow. So those seeking UK small business advice should reflect on if they are taking advantage of such opportunities. Mentors can provide help for small businesses UK wide, but those who want to grow their mature small businesses need to have an open mind and be open to change.

While such moves are an essential part of how to be successful in business, opening up your business to the international market can be scary; but it doesn’t need to be. If you are looking for a mentor offering help for small businesses UK wide, look for one with the experience of working with international businesses. They will have the knowledge to help you feel more comfortable in opening your business up to international markets.

How To Make A Successful Small Business In A Mature Market

How To Make A Successful Small Business

When we think of how to grow a business, we think of businesses within emerging or growing markets. But what about those running established small businesses in mature markets? Where do you go from there? Thankfully, there are some things you can learn as a small business owner about how to make a successful small business.

But before we do that, we need to examine the challenges facing a small business looking to grow in a mature market. For even large businesses in a mature market, it can be hard to envision where to find market growth. Often, growth comes from innovations and this can be difficult for a small business to push forward. But, at the same time, it is never usually larger businesses that take ‘risky’ moves within a mature market that is still profitable to them; it’s the smaller competitors. Lastly, you’re dealing with long-established competitors. Growing in a mature market can be hampered by buying habits. By this stage, many customers or clients have already built relationships with their chosen brands and companies. It will take a lot to lure customers away from their preferences. How to make a successful small business in such mature markets is, therefore, understandably difficult. However, it is not impossible. So for those asking how to make a small business successful in a mature market, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

First of all, it is a good idea to identify the advantages that your business has over others. Since it is going to be very hard to convince clients and customers to jump ship from competitors to your business, it is important to identify your strengths over competitors. By focusing on elevating those strengths in any marketing material, you make your business more appealing. Secondly, if you want to learn how to make a business successful, then you need to expand beyond your comfort zone. Just because a market is mature, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential to expand what companies within that market can provide. Take, for example, book shops. Feeling the squeeze from online suppliers and reduced physical copy sales, many smaller bookshops decided to reduce the amount of books they sold and convert that extra space into cafes. It is very important to seek additional revenue streams. If one stream suffers due to industry changes, you are going to be able to rely on those other streams to prop it up. Lastly, examine those competitors around you. Learn all about what they do and what they provide. It has never been easier due to many businesses now having websites and online presences. The old traditional formula of visiting competitors and getting a feel for what they are doing to remain afloat cannot go wrong either. These are the keys behind how to be successful in business.

So these are just a few of the things to keep in mind when it comes to learning how to make a successful small business. However, there are many sources of help for small businesses out there – including online training courses and business mentors with a speciality in helping established small businesses grow.

Avoiding Death By PowerPoint

Avoiding Death By PowerPoint

For those wondering how to be successful in business, one of the most crucial and understated keys is the ability to pitch clients at short notice. However, many small business owners can struggle to craft engaging presentations. Ever heard of the term ‘death by PowerPoint’? Learning how to avoid this can be extremely important for those looking for help with small business presentations.

But what do we mean by ‘death by PowerPoint’? Well, this refers to the overuse of PowerPoint software in presentations. People have become used to much of the default text and formatting offered by PowerPoint, and are bored by how this software has become associated with every presentation over the past decade. This can lead to an audience becoming instantly bored by the sight of any sort of PowerPoint presentation. So what can you do to avoid this? Thankfully, we’re here to offer help for small business owners in order to avoid ‘death by PowerPoint’. First of all, ask yourself this key question: do you need slides for a particular presentation? Many are now beginning to question the need for slides. Often, we create them by default because we think that without them, our presentation will fail. But how often do you hear about clients being won over by presentation slides? It is the speaker and the people involved who win deals. Alternatively, there are other visuals and approaches you can take during a presentation. Physical models or papers can be passed around the room to help fill that visual void, or you can even use whiteboards and flipcharts. These different approaches to presentations help with small business owners in particular as they will likely not have the resources to make a truly outstanding presentation on PowerPoint. So don’t PowerPoint out of necessity; think about standing out from competitors.

Coming back to whiteboards and flipcharts, they can actually be really important vessels to carry your message to an audience. With PowerPoint presentations, we often see complicated graphs appear on-screen before the speaker explains what we are seeing. But if you take a pen and draw that diagram yourself, talking through each part of it, you can help create interest in the story you are trying to tell. It also allows you to inject personality into the diagram. There’s no need for the lines to be uniform and the text to be ‘perfect’ looking. Uniqueness garners interest. That being said, we’re not saying that a PowerPoint presentation is an inherently bad thing. But if you want to make your business grow, you need to have an arsenal of tools in your skillset. The ability to sparsely and artfully use presentation slides is important. Ask yourself: do I need a slide here? Does it need to be packed with information, or can it just include a few small keywords? So minimise text; maximise graphics and pictures. Those offering small business advice UK wide will always talk about the importance of presentation aids, but keep in mind not to overdo it.

While you want to cut down your reliance on PowerPoint, you will want to make sure that you develop your public speaking skills. This is an important part of how to make a successful business. Thankfully, there are many online courses that can help with small business matters such as the way to produce presentations and the art of public speaking.

Four Tips To Help Transform A Struggling Small Business

UK Small Business Advice

It can feel like there is a wealth of information out there to help small business entrepreneurs learn how to be successful in business, but what if you are already running an older smaller business that is struggling? Thankfully, we’re here to provide UK small business advice. Here are four quick tips to help turn around the fortunes of your small business’ operations.

Firstly, if your small business has been running for some time, then it’s highly likely that it was successful at one point. So something happened to change the level of success that your business was experiencing. You need to examine the issues or factors that have affected this change. Are they external? Such as a new competitor arriving in the area? Or are they internal? Have you failed to update your product lines or services to suit modern needs? Looking at a problem head-on can be hard to do objectively if you are a small business owner. This is because you may start to jigsaw together the full picture of a problem and even track it back to just one decision you made some time ago. So go back to documentation and financial reports to find that last period when your business was doing well. What changed? Another vital piece of help for small business owners relates to the way that you market your business. Talk to your customers and ask them what you could do better. If you have contact details of old customers, send them an anonymous survey and ask them to kindly tell you what they would want to see in your business. It’s amazing how a lot of help for small businesses can come directly from listening to customers; and how often stubborn business owners think they know better than their customers!

But for small businesses, customer loyalty is so important. However, customer loyalty today needs to be complemented with a good marketing campaign. Email (which cost nothing), running social media pages (which costs nothing), and utilising search engine marketing (if you learn about it, you can do it for free) can help remind your customers of why they love your business. It’s amazing how much you can do for little-to-no amount of money. Another tip also relates to spending less money – slash your expenses. It can be hard to accept that you must shrink your business, as it may impact your own lifestyle, but sometimes it is needed to be more sustainable. This can be far more favourable to shutting up shop. Reducing product lines, services and employees can help to achieve this sustainability. Our fourth and final UK small business advice tip is to change the way your business is modelled. This is a very difficult thing to achieve, but it can be important to find ways to change who needs your products and services. It’s amazing how many businesses and industries throughout history have shifted their goalposts due to a change of direction of business model. Don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the possibility of this change because you can find special business mentors helping small businesses across the UK to achieve such results.

So don’t be afraid to reach out for UK small business advice from such mentors or investing in courses that can teach you how to grow a business that is struggling.