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How to grow your business: tips and advice to scale up and expand

You have a great business and everything's going well. But if you're here, it's because you want to know how to scale up your business in a way that increases your profitability while maintaining the quality you're known for. So let's dive in. How to grow your business in the best possible way?

Business growth typically means generating a higher turnover. But if your business costs and expenses increase in line with your growth, you’ll only ever make the same profit margins.

To scale a business, you need to grow your business revenue at a higher rate than your costs so that your profit margins increase. This is the secret to taking a small business and turning it into a thriving company.

How to grow your business – first steps

There are a couple of fundamental building blocks that you’ll need before you consider how to expand your business.

1. Streamline your processes

When scaling a business, one of the first things you’ll need to do is make sure that your processes are streamlined.

Because even if you’re pulling in high-revenue jobs, if your business is inefficient, you’ll hemorrhage money. And this will inhibit your ability to grow your profit margins.

Remember, when scaling up, your goal is to increase your profit margins.

In addition, if your processes aren’t set up to offer an efficient service, this problem will only become exacerbated as you grow, resulting in sub-standard service levels and disgruntled customers.

Simple things such as failing to respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner, or turning quotes around quickly, can be the difference between you winning the business or not.

How to streamline your processes

Our members work smarter with the Powered Now app – specifically designed for tradespeople – and it’s free for a year as part of a Checkatrade membership.

Our guide on how to improve your business with technology has more.

2. Do your sums

Good cash flow management is crucial to the success of any business, and is one of the main reasons why small businesses fail.

Without a healthy cash flow, you could struggle to invest in the growth of your business. For example, for:

  • Recruitment
  • Buying additional tools and equipment
  • Marketing
  • Expanding your fleet of vehicles

These are just some of the expenses you may need to factor in.

Check your finances

Take the time to look over your books to check you have the financial resources to achieve your growth plans.

If you need funding, research the most suitable way to do this for your business: credit cards, loans, or perhaps outside investment. Either way, it goes without saying, this comes with risk and should only be taken with careful consideration.

3. Build your team

If you’re ambitious for growth, you need to make sure you’re able to deliver what you’re promising. It can be a little ‘chicken and egg’, but if you don’t have a quality team lined up to deliver the jobs you’re committing to, you’ll fall at the first hurdle.

Remember, if you’re recruiting, you don’t necessarily need to hire a band of full-time employees from the off.

Hiring for business growth

There’s the option to hire part-time, which can be particularly convenient if you need help with admin tasks such as bookkeeping. Sub-contracting is another way to bring experienced tradespeople on board in a short timeframe.

Check out our complete guide to hiring employees for your growing business for further guidance.

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How to grow a small business

If you’re at the relative start of your business journey and want to know how to grow a small business into a large business, we’ve got some top tips for you.

1. Get the basics right

Before you commit to your growth plans, now is a really good time to take stock and think about whether you’re happy with your current offering, or whether you want to take the opportunity to focus on a niche.

For example, as a plumber, is it more lucrative to continue to offer all services, or is it better to concentrate on boiler installs, maintenance, and service?

Whatever stage you’re at with your business, it’s a good idea to review things regularly: look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and see whether you need to refine your business idea at all.

2. Work on word-of-mouth referrals

Who doesn’t want more new business for free?

Word-of-mouth recommendations simply rely on you doing an exceptional job. So much so that your customers can’t wait to wax lyrical about your services to their in-need family, friends, and neighbours.

While that’s a really great example of how a business can grow organically, how can you grow your small business with more active marketing methods?

3. Get creative with marketing

Some of the more traditional marketing methods are arguably still some of the most effective, and they don’t need to cost a lot of money either:

  • Leave business cards with customers
  • Pin business flyers to local noticeboards
  • Apply eye-catching vinyls to your work vehicle
  • Place an advertising board at your customer’s property
  • Sponsor local events

These are all tried and tested ways to build momentum and grow your trade business.

How to scale a business quickly

Word of mouth and other traditional forms of marketing definitely have their place, but if you’re looking to scale your business quickly, you’ll benefit from a combination of this, plus online marketing.

Some of the most popular ways to embark on online marketing include:

Creating a website is not a quick fix. It can take time to build and even longer to get it to deliver decent results in search engines such as Google.

There is the option to pay for online advertising to get your business seen through something called PPC (pay per click) advertising.

Social media can help your business to grow in a very economical way. It’s free to use, simply requiring a commitment from you to update your content regularly.

For example, if you’re looking at how to scale an electrical business, content such as before and after shots, photos of your team hard at work, or images of inspiring projects can work really well to generate new business from social media.

Read our post on how to grow your business on IG for more information.

Grow your business with the #1 trade directory

8 out of 10 people would choose a tradeperson we've checked over one we haven't*

Join Checkatrade today

The best way to scale your trade business

If you’re looking at how to scale your trade business, joining a trade directory such as Checkatrade is one of the best things you can do.

Built specifically for trades to connect homeowners with trusted tradespeople, it can help you to scale your business in many ways:

  • Generate better-paid jobs. On average, people spend 35% more with Checkatrade.*
  • Save nearly £500 per year** on business essentials to help keep your costs low and profits tight
  • Receive a business profile, which not only gives you a listing on Checkatrade, but visibility on search engines, just as a website would
  • Share customer reviews, photos, and company info, which are all key ways to build confidence in your business and secure work for your team
  • Gain more work through referrals. 6 out of 10 of people who use a Checkatrade tradesperson go on to recommend to others*
  • Improve business efficiency using the Checkatrade app – free as part of your membership
  • Supercharge your work rate with the leading trade app, Powered Now – free for a year as part of your Checkatrade membership
  • Select from our tiered membership, so you choose a plan that suits your budget and your needs, with the option to flex up and down month-to-month if you wish

Being a Checkatrade member is not only the quickest way to show homeowners you’re the real deal, but it helps you to generate better-paid work and more referrals while saving you money on your business expenses.

If you’ve been paying attention from the start of this article, you’ll recall the secret to scaling your business is to grow your business revenue at a higher rate than your business costs in order to increase your profit margins. A Checkatrade membership could just help you to do that.

What are you waiting for? Click on the button below to start our checks.

Grow your business with the #1 trade directory

8 out of 10 people would choose a tradeperson we've checked over one we haven't*

Join Checkatrade today


*Deep Blue Thinking 2021 Trade Perception Survey

**Year runs from April 20 to April 21

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