You grew your business from the seed of a business idea. Now that it has flourished, you can see many more business opportunities. Since your dream has become a reality, you now have a deeper appreciation of what it takes to build a business. At the same time, your vision of what is possible has expanded, too.
Unfortunately, you now face an obstacle. You’re still a small business, not a large business. Banks are reluctant to lend you any money as a matter of policy. It doesn’t matter if you have accurate financial records to show that you have managed your business well. Although banks may say that they are supporting small businesses for publicity purposes, they quietly changed their attitude toward small businesses after the financial crisis. Small businesses are not something they consider worth championing. The reality is that the low-profit and high-risk potential of financing small businesses may not work out in their favor. Unfortunately, even if you get past their restrictions on offering funding to a small business because of the risk potential, the funding you receive will have many stipulations that will prevent you from growing your business fast. In fact, the loan seems more like a burden than a blessing.
This makes it challenging for you to figure out how to get the money you need to expand your dream.
How do you solve this problem?
First, let’s explore ways to get the money you need from alternative lending sources. Second, we’ll review 5 possible ways you can put this money to its best possible use to ensure steady growth.
How to Expand: Financing Growth
An alternative to getting financing through the traditional routes – the U.S. Small Business Administration, banks, and credit unions – is to work directly with independent lenders like Dealstruck who can offer you a package that’s customized for your individual business. Moreover, these are not small amounts, like $10,000, that don’t allow you to do much more than paint the walls, repair broken manufacturing equipment, buy new office supplies or improve store fixtures. We’re talking about more than enough money to truly expand your business, with loans going up to $350,000 and lines of credit going up to $500,000.
What to Expand: Building New Infrastructure
Once you’ve acquired the money you need to grow your business, you have to use it wisely. By planning ahead on how you will use the money, you will not be tempted to squander it on advertising that doesn’t sell, marketing ventures that fall flat, or business opportunities that don’t go anywhere.
Here are five suggestions on how you can put the money you borrow to good use.
Your business is only as effective as the talent that you hire. By increasing the quality and quantity of your staff, you can radically improve your business.
You can increase the quality of your staff by providing more education and training of existing staff. You can also increase your talent pool by hiring people with a depth of knowledge and experience in your field.
You can increase the quantity of your staff by noticing places where your current staff is overworked. For instance, you might be able to greatly improve your customer service by hiring more people to answer the phones, or you might be able to increase your sales by hiring more people to join your sales team.
Upgrade your equipment and technology to increase productivity by many orders of magnitude. Your business is only as good as the equipment and technology you use. Productivity can be greatly enhanced through software and equipment. New machines, more up-to-date software, and more sophisticated electronics can help you leverage your productivity to a whole new level. Also be sure to invest in the training necessary to get users to optimize the features of their new tools. By default, most people only use 10% of any good piece of software or sophisticated bit of equipment.
3. New Products or Services
If you are manufacturing, you could look into ways of innovating your products or adding more products. If you are retailing, you can add more complementary products to your existing offering. If you are a service provider, you can figure out how to meet more of your customer’s needs. In-depth research will help you make the best choices.
Renovation is important if customers come to your place of business. If you’re a retailer, then you might want to consider renovating your store. If you’re a service provider, then you might want to consider renovating your office. Making a good impression on your customers will improve their perception of your professionalism. Think about what fixtures, furnishings, signage, or lighting could be improved.
5. New Location
You may also be in a position where you are ready to expand your operations through duplication. For instance, if you are running a successful restaurant, you now have a good idea of how to operate one effectively. You can now replicate this proven model in another part of the city.
If you did not have enough cash flow to get fully insured, make sure that you now get the insurance you need to protect your business. There is no point building a flourishing business if you don’t have a way to protect against accidental losses.
Build on What’s Working
It takes time to develop anything to work well. Instead of experimenting with new ways to grow your business, expand on what’s already working well.