But taking your business to the next level can be daunting. The extra work you put in won’t necessarily equate to the extra reward you’ll get out – at least not at first.

Meet Franklin Asante, AKA the ‘Urban Financier’ – his online platform where he provides a wealth of useful information on money management. He also happens to be Head of Entrepreneurs at our sister bank Coutts. He says that, while starting a business is huge, “for many entrepreneurs the real challenge lies in tackling the next stage of growth”.

Here, he shares his top tips to help you transition from start-up to sizeable enterprise…

Franklin’s five tips for business growth

1. Bring in the right talent at the right time

As businesses grow, the pool of people suitably qualified to work with you can seem limited, the competition for top talent fierce. It’s worth investing in recruitment and training and development, to ensure you hire the right people and give them the skills they need to do their jobs well.

Franklin says, “Many founders struggle to transition from the start-up stage to managing a larger team. It’s important to empower your new hires and encourage responsibility. It can be hard to ‘let go’, but as your business gets bigger you increasingly need to hand certain elements over to others.”

2. Operations, operations, operations

As your business grows, you’re probably going to need new sites and systems to handle the extra activity. That can be challenging because it requires careful coordination and planning to ensure everything comes together seamlessly.

Expand too fast and you’ve got empty spaces costing you money but not doing much. Expand too slowly and you haven’t got enough resources to get the job done, which can be frustrating.

Franklin says, “Whichever stage of the process you’re in, efficiency is key. Wasting resources will cost your company time, money and momentum at a time when those resources are invaluable. It’s important to remain agile – be on the lookout for feedback from your team, your customers or suppliers, and keep an eye on your key performance indicators.”

3. Find the right financing

Expansion costs money. One way to consider funding your growth is through debt – borrowing what you need. But any loan you take should be structured and flexible enough to avoid overtly impacting your cash flow. If you’re far enough advanced, you could consider selling equity in your business through shares to investors. But that can dilute ownership of the business and, understandably, many founders are reluctant to relinquish quite so much control.

“Ultimately, it’s about balance and planning through a range of options to make sure your path to growth is well-financed not just in the initial stages, but throughout,” says Franklin. “This is where a good adviser could really help.”

4. New areas need new approaches

Expanding into new areas can be crucial for growing businesses, but moving too fast without understanding the sector, region or regulations can be disastrous. High-growth markets also tend to attract lots of competition, making it harder to win market share.

Franklin says, “Marketing can be difficult when entering unfamiliar territory, so hiring people with the right specific knowledge is crucial. And if you’re expanding into other countries, navigating diverse regulatory environments across markets requires significant legal and compliance efforts.

“Invest in these areas and get your knowledge levels where they need to be before you take on anything you’re unfamiliar with.”

5. Stay cutting edge

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data analytics should be your friends – they can be crucial to understanding your customers and keeping your business efficient. AI and data can boost your company’s productivity by streamlining the basic tasks. They also provide you with greater choice, allowing you to find more ways to add value for your customers.

The importance of being sustainable and socially responsible cannot be overstated either – customers see these things as top priorities. In a study by consumer intelligence company NielsenIQ last January, 69% of shoppers said sustainability had become more important to them over the previous two years.  And a Deloitte report last year found that a quarter of all customers are prepared to pay more for sustainability.

Contact your Premier team if you’d like to find out more about how Royal Bank could support your business plans.

Specific eligibility criteria apply. Advice and product fees may apply.

Royal Bank business loans: Security may be required. Product fees may apply. Over 18s only. Subject to status, business use only. Any property or asset used as security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.

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