At Comparo we meet searchers every day who are looking to gain funding for their SME or business Start-ups. Obtaining a business loan can prove particularly helpful if you are looking to start, grow or scale your business. However, once you’ve been approved for this loan, how do you ensure you are putting it to the best use?
With a number of business loans available on the market today, once you actually have the money it can be mightily difficult to know where to put it first. This is because often, with the amount of competition out there, business owners may feel as if money is needed in all areas! So to help those who may well be struggling with knowing how to put their loan to the best use, we thought we would provide some handy tips to ensure you’ll be maximising the investment.
Hiring a Business Coach or business advisor
If you are grappling with how to best invest your business loan to move your business forward, it may well be worth seeking the advice of a business coach or advisor. Generally, they are by no means cheap. However, if you choose the right individual, they could add a huge amount of value to your business. That being said before choosing a coach we would recommend you shop around and look for someone with experience in your particular industry as well as a proven track record. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific case examples and even for the financials of companies they have worked with in the past. With the right person by your side, you may be amazed at how far you can grow.
Purchasing new equipment
Owning the correct and most top of the range equipment can be vital, particularly for those businesses that are looking to rapidly scale and need the infrastructure to do so. At Comparo we recommend watching out for cheap – as this really can be dear. Make sure you view your item as an investment. Something that will enrich your business and last the test of time. You may find that a cheaper alternative breaks down quickly and means you are unable to fulfil orders and grow the business. Skipping on machinery and relying on manual labour may seem cheaper in the short term, but make sure you take all factors into consideration when making production automation decisions. We would also recommend that you purchase insurance on any investments to make sure they are fully protected should the worst happen.
Investing in your sales department and strategy
If you are struggling to close leads then it may well be worth looking into hiring either a full time or freelance sales manager. This person could well make a huge difference to your business and help you know exactly who to target, as well as helping to define a clear and thorough lead generation and sales strategy. This means that you are pitching to the right people and most importantly, in an appropriate and goal focused fashion. There are a number of ways to hire a qualified and professional leadgen expert. You may consider a commission based or part time package which may be more practical if you are worried about mounting costs.
Growing your team
If you are looking to grow your business you could need additional staff, but be unable to afford to pay them straight away. A loan may well help ensure you have the additional staff without having to wait for your cash flow to improve.
Some events or purchases are seasonal and might mean that you are little strapped for cash beforehand. Having a loan might work as a fantastic investment to help ensure the event goes off with a bang, is a success and financially viable.
Using a business loan for Marketing costs
Marketing is a huge field and can incorporate a number of activities involved in increasing your business’ exposure and success. Some options to consider are:
Print advertising: Even in this digital world there is still a place for print advertising. It might be worth looking into trade specific magazines which you know are going to appeal to your core target audience or, perhaps, local magazines that are distributed in your area.
Social Media: Social media can be an immensely tricky area to manage with the four main platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all requiring vastly different content delivered in differing methods. However, if done correctly Social Media Marketing can bring in quality leads which are huge opportunities for lead generation. Utilising Social media is a comparatively low expense marketing channel compared to other forms of marketing. Moreover, there are a number of social media marketing agencies that offer affordable rates for small business owners and start-ups. Just make sure to be diligent as you search for the right company and make sure they have a track record of proven results.
Google Ads: Spending on PPC ads can help your business rise right to the top of a Google search in the form of ads positioned at the top of page one.
SEO: Through increasing your content and/or improving the speed and backlink profile of your website you may be able to help your business rise through the SERP’s. That being said this is an in-depth topic and we would recommend speaking to an SEO expert before you embark on your optimisation journey.
Networking: There are a number of networking groups that allow you to build relationships with individuals in your local business community. Allowing you to gain more referrals for your business and helping you grow your brand. If you are looking for suggestions it might be worth checking out either BNI or WIBN (women only we’re afraid) both of which exist right across England.
PR: Having your name featured in a local, or even an international newspaper could do a huge deal to help increase your brand awareness and lead to some powerful lead generation. A PR team should be able to help publicise your brand both on and off-line to ensure you’re exposing the wider audience to your businesses greatness!
Branding: This could include having some photos taken, your website redesigned or your logo touched up as a way of making your brand look more professional and help it to stand-out.
If you are interested in taking out a business loan please do take a look at our dedicated business loan page here for some of the most competitive rates of the market.