Growth, Hints and tips
Are you prepared for new business opportunities?
Posted on by Katie Hook
Estimated read time: 7 mins
“UK startups are forecasting strong growth over the next 12 months despite signs of diminishing business confidence.” Independent.co.uk
Research by Government-backed Start Up Loans Company announced that almost 90% of start-ups are expecting to grow sales within the next year. A quarter of those surveyed suggested they will increase sales by over 25% and almost half are forecasting double-digit growth!1
This is great news for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially since the UK Confidence Tracker showed UK SME confidence during last few months of 2016 was at its lowest since the beginning of 2014.2
With businesses everywhere turning their attention to growth, now is the time to make sure that you’re ready to seize any opportunities that come your way…
What can you do to prepare?
If you want to put yourself in the best position to win new tenders, then there are a few ways that you can set yourself up for success:
Stay up to date
Firstly, you’ll need to know what opportunities are available and when, so that you can respond quickly. You can do this by:
- Monitoring the key publications in your industry
- Maintaining good relationships with relevant contacts
- Keeping up with contract activity outside your industry which may lead to secondary supply work for you. For example, if a new hospital is being built, it will need new beds, office equipment, carpets etc.
Know when to bid
Submitting a successful tender can lead to new contracts and all the revenue benefits that brings. However, the process of preparing your bid is a lengthy and often costly one so it’s important to weigh up carefully before you commit. Some things to consider are:
- What does the tender require? Check the bid documents up front
- Do you realistically have the skill and resources to fulfil the requirements?
- What will the cost be to you to submit your bid?
- Is the contract in line with your overall business strategy?
- Once you’ve factored in the cost of fulfilment, will the overall revenue be sufficient?
- What impact would winning have on your existing resources – staff, buildings, time etc?
By doing this analysis, you can be sure that when you do submit a bid, you’re doing so for the right reasons.
Check your credit report
Any business will want to ensure that you are financially stable before accepting your bid and so it’s common practice to run a credit check. The last thing you want is to have put the time, effort and cost into submitting a fantastic bid, only to fall at the last hurdle due to some glitch on your business report that you weren’t aware of.
Products such as Experian My Business Profile, help businesses to stay on track of their credit report and score so that they can be confident of getting the best clients, the best deals and the best rates.
Getting your credit score ‘bid ready’
If you want to make sure that your business credit report is looking ship-shape and ready for any tenders that come your way, then there are a few simple steps that you can take to manage your score effectively:
Your credit report is used to validate your business, so the more data it contains the better! For example, if you’re a limited company, make sure you file full accounts at Companies House.
Stay up to date
Inform customers, suppliers, Companies House, directories and Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) of changes to location or business status. Out-of-date or inconsistent information will make your business appear unreliable.
Collaborate with suppliers
Don’t forget, your business credit report is like your financial CV! Make sure all the good stuff is included. Speak to suppliers and ask them to give you some feedback and to share data on your payment records with the CRAs.
File on time
Don’t miss deadlines when you’re filing your accounts. This can be a potential indication that you’re having money issues and can create a lack of confidence in your business.
Watch your personal finances
Lenders may also check your personal credit report – especially if your business is new and doesn’t yet have much information recorded about it. Make sure you stay on top of your personal data too.
Pay invoices on time wherever possible. Payment terms are a form of credit, so failure to do so will damage your credit rating.
Avoid County Court Judgments
Even more so than late payments, defaults and CCJs can negatively impact your credit score. If you are struggling to keep up with payments, then don’t be tempted to bury your head in the sand. Seek help before it gets to this stage.
Limit credit applications
Each time you apply for credit, a credit search will be done and this leaves a ‘footprint’ on your credit report. Too many credit searches over a short period of time can suggest that you are in financial difficulties and so impact your score. If you’re just making enquiries about credit, then ask for a quote instead as this won’t leave a footprint.
Check your business report regularly
By using services like Experian My Business Profile, you can stay updated with both your business report and score, as well as the key things which are impacting it. Avoid any nasty surprises by keeping a close eye on what’s being recorded about you.
Reduce your own financial risk
Don’t forget to do your own due diligence before working with new suppliers and clients. Check their credit reports to make sure that you can be confident that they will honour their financial obligations to you.
How to check your business score
Ready to check your business score? Great! We’d love to help. With Experian My Business Profile you can check your business report whenever you like. You’ll learn the top factors that are influencing your score and you’ll see what lenders see when they’re making credit decisions about your business.
We’ll send you automatic alerts when something significant changes so that you can act quickly and we’ll provide customer support and ongoing advice to help you to build and maintain your score so it’s the best it can be.