The role that finance plays in business growth is undoubtedly critical, and effective leveraging of financial resources is vital for creating sustainable growth.
Many of the small businesses we lend to have been presented with an opportunity to grow but lack the cash required to take advantage of it.
This is when a business loan is useful for creating sustainable growth.
While some businesses can grow organically, growth will take longer to advance, and opportunities will be missed. You’ll also find that it will put a strain on your existing resources.
Here, we look at 5 ways a business loan can unlock business growth.
1. Investing in assets
As well as providing value and contributing to the company’s overall financial health, assets are crucial to the production and delivery of your products or services, playing a direct role in generating revenue.
Technology: Technology typically plays an important role across many different facets of business. This includes productivity, efficiency, innovation, security and agility, not to mention data analysis. Investment into technology could prove to the very worthwhile.
Machinery: If you need machinery to deliver your products or services, investing in state-of-the-art equipment could help to streamline your production times. It could also save you money by being more energy efficient.
Stock: Whether it is the product itself, or the raw materials, investing in stock will ensure that you can fulfil orders while remaining financially stable. Business owners can sometimes be caught off guard by larger orders.
Intellectual Property (IP): IP not only protects your innovations, but it also helps to ensure long-term growth by helping create and sustain competitive advantage. It may also help you attract future investors.
2. Investing in people and skills
Your people are often your competitive edge and they fundamental role in business growth by driving innovation and productivity. Investing in this area is a particularly good way to create business growth and future-proof your business.
People: Recruitment is an important factor in business growth, as you’ll need to ensure that you have sufficient resources as the business grows. But recruitment can be high cost, so it’s critical that you invest the appropriate time and money into the process. In time, good candidates will not only cover the cost of recruitment, but they will also help you raise your business’s profile.
Skills: Upskilling and reskilling are great ways to future-proof your business. Not only will this help you keep your employees engaged and your staff turnover low, but it will also help your business develop a competitive advantage with an agile team that is adaptable to change.
3. Investing in Products or Services
Developing existing products and services or creating new ones will help increase your business’s relevancy within its market. It could also help you enter new markets and attract more customers.
New Product Development: Depending on the product, this might take significant investment. You may need specialist machinery, you might need to invest in research and development. You’ll need to conduct some robust market research. Getting your product to market also costs money.
Developing Existing Products: Developing your current offering will help your product to stay relevant. It could also extend its lifecycle.
4. Investing in Sustainability
With all SMEs needing to decarbonise by 2050, getting ahead of the game and investing in sustainability now will help give your business a competitive advantage.
Reputation: A recent study has shown that 4 out of 5 consumers opt for brands that have a positive approach to environmental sustainability. Bolstering your business’s sustainability credentials and embedding them into your business will enhance its reputation and help attract new customers.
Net Zero: switching to green energy doesn’t come cheap, but if it saves you money in the long run and helps to protect the environment, this is a win-win outcome. Investing in solar panels could help to significantly reduce your operational impact. Another way to invest in sustainability is to switch to electric vehicles. Again, this will come at a high cost, but if the vehicle is more efficient and costs you less to run in the long term, it could be a very worthwhile investment.
5. Investing in Location
Depending on your business, your premises might be a critical factor to growth and ongoing success. Upfront costs of new business premises can be high, so external funding is extremely useful in this scenario.
Relocation: Maybe you’ve outgrown your current premises, or you need to relocate to another site with better visibility. Relocating your premises could significantly outweigh the costs of borrowing if it means you can operate at increased capacity, or that your new location has a higher footfall with your target market.
New sites: Expanding to new sites can be a real game-changer. If your business covers a wide geographic, more locations mean higher visibility with your target market.
Could SWIG Finance help you unlock business growth?
SWIG Finance supports small businesses in the South West with access to funding. We don’t compete with the banks, instead, we lend to those businesses that are unable to secure funding from mainstream providers.
We get to know our customers and their businesses, consequently, we don’t use automated credit scoring methods. Our lending decisions are made by people, not computers, which means that we can look at the bigger picture and support projection-led businesses that are able to demonstrate a stronger performance to previous years.
About SWIG Finance
SWIG Finance is a non-profit company that supports viable South West businesses that can’t secure sufficient funding from their bank. By empowering underserved SMEs to overcome their financial barriers, we are working to create a more balanced financial ecosystem.
We’re growing every year. In 2022/23, we lent £14m to 478 businesses, helping to create and secure over 1,000 jobs and generate £44.6m in social impact. Download the report here.
If your business has growth aspirations but needs extra funding to take advantage of its opportunities, please do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01872 227 930.