Build your financial status
Creditworthiness is valuable so ensure you have adequate financial resources and use the right mix of debt and equity. Be financially astute and build creditworthiness by:
- Making sure working capital limitations don’t restrict your growth.
- Paying lenders and other creditors on time.
- Keeping lenders and investors informed and warned of any likely problems.
- Setting up borrowing facilities in case of need and borrowing at fixed rates. Check out Westpac’s business loans*, which give you a flexible, medium-to-long term financing option to help you grow your business.
- Minimising debt and ensuring you strive to keep your costs down.
- Retaining customers and making them profitable.
Create a brand and use market positioning
What does your product or service offer that sets it apart from those of your competitors? This is your unique selling point (USP) and is the basis of successful branding. A brand helps you maintain the important ingredients of your business as you grow and helps you to get existing customers interested in your new products.
Market positioning is how you position your business in the market, versus how your competitors position themselves. You may be able to add value and grow by changing your market positioning. For example:
- A hotel might grow by moving upmarket, gradually improving its facilities, standards, and prices.
- A specialist engineering business might grow by moving downmarket, developing cheaper, mass-market versions of its market-leading products.
Protect assets, IP, and data
It’s important to protect your tangible and intangible assets.
- Protect all your intellectual property, like patents, copyrights, or trademarks. Visit The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand for advice.
- Protect your market by building strong customer relationships.
- Protect your customer database, mailing list and other key records by creating and storing back-up copies off-site or in a fire safe, and backing up data on your IT system.
- Expert employees may own important company skills. Use clauses in your employees’ contracts to protect confidential trade secrets and limit their ability to set up in competition with you.
- Set up systems that allow you to anticipate problems, as your ability to anticipate change is an important way to protect value. Monitor the business climate for political, economic, social, and technical changes, and changing customer needs. Use market research to keep in touch with your customers’ needs
Read more on protecting intangible assets on the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise website.
Strengthen staff resources and systems
Your employees are an important part of your business. You can grow the value of your employees by:
- Communicating your strategy.
- Making your business a great place to work. Provide good working conditions, training, and offer competitive remuneration/use incentive pay to align remuneration with creating value.
- Using systems that make sure knowledge is shared and encourage teamwork.
- Retaining key employees by providing opportunities for career progression and allowing them an appropriate share of the value they create.
Invest in your operations
Investing in your operations adds value. Ensure you:
- Consider whether you need to invest in research and development for new products. Find out which grants and incentives are available to help you grow your business.
- Keep your facilities and technologies up to date. Outdated facilities and technologies can harm productivity and competitiveness.
- Create standard policies and procedures as simple, smooth-running processes are easier to use as you grow.
- Identify weaknesses and risks, and take steps to protect your business from them.
Scale up your business
Look at ways to scale up your business. For example, you might aim to:
- Expand into other geographical areas by identifying if there is a market for your product in that area or country and working out how you can capture a worthwhile share of this market.
- Acquire smaller competitors. Ensure you first look at their latest earnings, consider if their customers will cross over to your business, and know their reason for selling.
Diversify your business
A narrowly focused business, which pursues its goals relentlessly, has the most potential to create outstanding value. However, it is also the type of business most at risk of failing. By diversifying into a new product or market that suits your strengths, you can reduce this risk. You can also offer improved or changed products, or develop new marketing activities.
Form strategic alliances
Strategic alliances can be an important source of growth, particularly if you don’t have the resources to exploit your opportunities fully. For example, working with a major distributor may be more effective than developing your own sales channels. Tying in key partners in this way also reduces the risk of losing business to competitors.