Growing a business in 2021 will have its challenges like any other year; coming off the back of a recession, the first one in Australia for over twenty years. Even so, you can grow a business sustainably in 2021. For software vendors, this may become a boon time as more and more employees work from home which necessitates more licences and cloud applications than previously thought.
Together with Savvy’s Managing Director Bill Tsouvalas, we have five tips for growing a business in 2021 that’s scalable and sustainable for the long-term.
Have actionable and achievable goals
When you are growing you need to have achievable goals. If you’re a small team with a $500,000 turnover last year, aiming for $100,000,000 by next year may not be feasible. Have a manageable goal in mind and strategise around that small goal as you grow.
“Stay hungry, but don’t take on the world and think you’ll win,” Tsouvalas says. “Savvy was named one of BRW’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2015, but it did take a lot of strategy and planning to get to that level. Make sure your vision and your mission align with your growth plans at every stage of the business.”
Audit your data gathering
Business intelligence is the watchword for business growth in 2021. As CRM can connect to sales navigators and into your workflow management and beyond, you need to gain as much data from your processes and cashflow as possible. “It’s the old IT phrase – if you have garbage in, you get garbage out,” says Tsouvalas.
“You need to connect as many data points to your dashboards as possible so it gives you intelligence you can work with and build upon. Is your team spending most of their time taking inbound calls about the same questions? That’s an opportunity to use a helpdesk solution such as ZenDesk instead. The data can help you unlock savings in time and ultimately, money.”
If someone told you in January 2020 that most of your workforce would be working from home throughout the year, you probably would have laughed. Agile systems and adaptability is crucial to grow your business sustainably. Using data and insights you can pivot toward revenue-making activities and ditch what is costing you money.
“Streamlining your offering and even seizing upon opportunities you may not have considered it key to growing a business. Savvy was well placed during the pandemic because we are primarily a tech-focused company. Working from home was no problem thanks to much of the cloud and distributed software we use already.
Consider what kind of systems your business can use to adapt if market conditions change. Remember those goals? Sometimes you must put them on hold or change them to fit what’s happening. Make every obstacle the way forward.”
Keep cash flowing – no matter what
You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating – cash flow is the blood that keeps a business alive. Your business needs to keep cash flow up as much as possible. “With so many businesses transitioning to Software as a Service (SaaS) it’s easier than ever to keep cash flowing – with subscriptions instead of yearly or multi-year licences.
Likewise, your subscriptions and licences will be taken out of your account every month or quarter. Do you really need five Xero licences when only three people are using it? Do an audit of your software; even change to open source if it saves you money. Renegotiate terms with your suppliers if they are unfavourable to your cashflow position.
Use cloud accounting software to chase up stray invoices. Make sure cash is flowing, even when times get tight.”
Fund your growth with unsecured business loans
Getting funding to fuel your growth can often be a cumbersome process, especially if you’re approaching it with agile principles. Unsecured business loans give your business access to cash quickly so you can cover shortfalls or urgent demands for equipment.
“Unsecured business loans give your business quick access to funding instead of waiting for approval, which can take days or weeks. As your business grows, you’ll be able to service the loans and be in an overall stronger position for continued growth.”
Remember to consult your accountant or financial professional before applying for any financial product.
About the Author
Bill Tsouvalas is the founder and CEO of Savvy, one of Australia’s leading financial institutions. Established in 2010, Bill turned Savvy into one of BRW’s fastest-growing companies in 2015. He frequently shares his knowledge and ideas on cars, mortgage, money and investment in the media.