3 Ways to Grow a Small Business

21st August 2018 | 2 min read

Innovative new technologies and financial deregulation mean there have never been more options for acquiring small business capital. You can have the best product, team and ideas, but if funds aren’t in place then expansion – and even survival – quickly becomes a struggle for a company of any size. These days, rather than having to meet with a bank manager cap in hand, alternative sources for topping-up small business capital are in abundance. Government grants, crowdfunding and online small business loan providers are just a few of the ways to bolster your company’s cash-flow, grow your business and make those dreams a reality.

Small Business Lenders

It is now possible to obtain small business capital in a matter of minutes, with online lenders such as Iwoca and Funding Circle able to help with fast and highly flexible financing options. Whether you require a chunk of working capital, wish to borrow against invoices or are looking for short-term lines of credit the quick decisions and no-nonsense online applications offered by these providers can feel like a breath of fresh air compared with the traditional loan application process. There are also many comparison websites to help you decide which of the many online lenders are most suitable to your requirements.

Government Grants

If you don’t want to eventually have to pay back the small business capital raised, applying for a government grant can be attractive. Much like pitching for private investment, a successful grant application requires that you have a solid business case. They also come with strict eligibility criteria, can take months to arrange, and it’s also highly competitive, but if all goes well, then the financing is essentially a gift from the government to your business. Set out your objectives clearly and don’t skimp on the details – you’ll need a thorough business plan, project description and explanation of the social and financial benefits of your business. Grants are usually awarded on the condition that you match-fund the grant money with your own. Contact your local Business Link to find out which grants are currently available.

Crowdfunding

The relatively recent idea of getting lots of investors to contribute small amounts of money to a project has resulted in high profile the success of numerous once-small businesses. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset began life as an idea on a Kickstarter page in 2012. After a huge response, Oculus was purchased by Facebook for $2 billion less than two years later. From Indiegogo to Crowdcube and GoFundMe, there are now plenty of crowdfunding sites with varying criteria, fees, pros and cons. However, lots of projects fail to reach their goals very publicly, so it pays to have meticulously planned your offer and researched the market ahead of launching a campaign. Make sure to allocate enough time to running the crowdfunder and to being able to hit deadlines on delivering the rewards promised to your investors.