So far in this programme, you’ve set your goals for growth. You then started to look at how to reach these with different growth methods.

In this lesson, we’ll help you work out which methods to take forward. You’ll have the chance to think about the laws and regulations that apply to them. Plus, we’ll help you build a checklist to plan what you need to do, to make your growing business work.

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Start to prioritise growth methods as part of your growth plan

  • Identify key laws and regulations to research to make sure your growing business stays compliant

  • Build a governance checklist

Read time:

12 mins

Chapter 1

Prioritise your growth methods

Read time:

3 mins

Your growth goals – where are you now?

Hopefully, at this point you have a list of growth methods that could help you to grow.

 

As a reminder, these could be:

  • Re-shaping your target market
  • Innovating products and services
  • Improving customer relationships and marketing
  • Using digital tools to grow

 

Now it’s time to work out if these growth methods can work for you. This will you help you start to prioritise and embed them. Let’s start with finances.

 

Assess your finances

When you’re planning for growth, finances are key. How much will it cost to grow in the way you want? Will you need funding? How can you predict which growth methods are likely to be profitable?

This section will help to assess your finances to understand what growth will cost and the return you might get.

 

Determine your break-even point

For this, you’ll first need to write down your expected costs. You may know some of these already. Estimate the rest – think about both fixed and variable costs.

One-off costs

For equipment, tools and materials

Regular outgoings

Like software subscriptions, maintenance costs and consumables

People costs

To grow and develop your team

Monitor and manage your cash flow

You’ll need to work out the level of sales or revenue you need to cover costs. Aim to fund your growth plan without overstretching your finances. This also helps you set realistic sales targets. Plus, you’ll start to see the potential impact of growth on your finances.

Having a healthy cash flow can help. Investors see it positively too. It shows you’re able to meet your short-term costs like paying bills, wages and suppliers. With a solid cash flow, you’ll be more able to cope with market changes.

To work out your cash flow, look at each of your growth methods in turn, and work out how much revenue you would need to cover your estimated costs.

Use these to decide if you can fund these through retained earnings. If not, you know you’ll need funding from other sources.

Think about reviewing your cash flow projections regularly

This will help you make sure you’ve got the means to support your growth plans. Start to build a cash reserve for contingencies if you can. It can help spot ways to improve your cash flow, too.

Here are a few things you should think about adding to your growth plan:

 

  • You'll need to share these with potential investors. So take time to make them as accurate as possible. Base them on your growth objectives, market trends and past records. Include projected income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements for at least 3-5 years if you can.

  • Compare your financial performance and growth plans with others in your sector. This will help you understand your relative strengths and weaknesses. You can then use this to refine your growth methods. It may also help you see chances to stand out in your sector.

    Limited companies must publish their financial statements each year, so this could be a good starting point.



    Find out how others are doing:

    • Look through annual reports
    • Search online
    • Read industry press articles
    • Seek out trade association publications

Want to learn more?

Our foundation module Plan and manage your finances gives more detail on financial planning and tools that can help.

There’s also a handy business guide on how to write a business plan. This includes what to capture when you prepare a financial forecast.

Chapter 2

Know your legislation

Read time:

7 mins

Laws and regulations

There may be new or different laws or regulations to follow as you grow your business. In this chapter, we’ll look at a few examples. First, let’s recap on the key differences between laws and regulations.

 

Laws:

  • Are set by the government
  • Apply to all businesses in the country
  • Protect your business, your team and your customers

 

Regulations:

  • Can be sector-specific
  • Are set by government agencies or other organisations
  • Set standards and give you guidance

Note

We list key laws and regulations in our Governance lesson. If you haven’t read this and want to learn more, you can find it here.

Now we’re going to look at how laws and regulations could impact your growth methods.

 

Exploring new markets

Maybe you’re looking to expand or move into new markets. If these are overseas, there may be local laws that apply. Other countries may handle legal disputes differently, too. Visit these new markets as part of your due diligence. Get to know the local trade customs and practices. Meet potential customers. If you need to, seek local legal advice too.

 

If you’re looking to trade overseas, think about:

  • Taxes – Including import tax
  • Trade restrictions – Check local laws about any permits or licences that you may need
  • Export contracts – You may need to update your terms and conditions
  • Product standards – Check the local regulations
  • Payment – What payment methods and currency will you accept?
  • Intellectual property – UK patents trademarks don’t always apply overseas
  • Language, cultural and time zone differences – Be aware of these when meeting clients or suppliers

 

Need more advice? See the Department for International Trade’s range of resources.

Our International Trade Portal also has free tools and guides to give you practical help.

 

Developing products or services

As you start to grow what you offer your customers, there are laws to protect both you and them.

Select the options that apply to you, to find out more.

 

How you connect with your users

As you grow your business, you’ll want to reach out to new and current customers. Any marketing materials you send them need to follow the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules. Check their website for general and channel-specific advice.

If you’re using new tools to hold or use customer data, check you meet privacy and data protection laws. This also applies if you’re asking for or using this data in a new or different way.

The main UK law here is the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has resources to help you make sure you’re following this law. This includes a self-assessment tool and one for sole traders and small business owners.

If your growth plans mean you’ll be starting to process personal data, you need pay a fee to the ICO. Not sure if this fee applies to you? Use their online tool to find out.

 

Here are a few things to think about:

  • Where you store data – Whether on a new device or in the cloud, make sure it’s secure
  • Who you share data with – Check security measures with any new suppliers or other third parties
  • How your team work with customer data – They may need training

Note

GDPR rules apply to Europe and the UK. Trading elsewhere? You’ll need to check the privacy and data protection rules in the relevant countries.

Using new digital tools

As you grow your digital toolset, think about how you and your team will use it.

Increase cyber security

Protect your new systems and data

Train your team

Set aside time for this, before you launch new systems

Promote best practice

This may be through training, guidance notes or policies

Are you building or updating apps or a website? Bear in mind that this needs to be accessible. The Equality Act covers both digital and physical access to services. This is quite high level and you may find the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) give more detail.

These guidelines apply to all UK public sector organisations. As a private business, you can use them to help make sure you’re meeting the Equality Act. Plus, they can help you reach a wider audience.

If you’re building a new website that sets cookies, the ICO have guidance on this.

Note

Check that any website, app or social site that asks for personal information meets privacy and data protection laws.

Build your team

As your business grows, you may find you need more people to help out. If you’re a sole trader, how do you feel about this? It can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. Even if you already have others working with you, you’ll need to plan carefully as this team grows. So let’s start by looking at some of the key laws that apply here.

 

Recruitment and hiring

You need to do this fairly. When you write your job adverts, they mustn’t discriminate.

 

Make sure they don’t imply that any of these are barriers to the role:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Being married or in a civil partnership
  • Being pregnant or having children
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation

 

The same is true in an interview. So you can’t ask whether someone is planning a family for instance. ACAS has help and advice on how to recruit fairly.

When you hire someone, they’ll have a contract of employment. You’ll also need to sort out PAYE, National Insurance and pension contributions. The GOV.UK site has a handy checklist to take you through the whole process.

 

Protecting your team

The law protects employees in various ways.

Health and Safety rules

keep people safe in the workplace

Data Protection law

keeps their personal data safe

Holiday entitlement

and the right to take time off work for other reasons

Sector-specific guidelines

apply in certain industries

You can find out more from these organisations:

 

When people leave

When you’re starting to grow your team, you may not be thinking about them leaving. But it’s important to have the right policies in place so everyone is clear about what to expect. This will include things like notice period and pay.

There are different rules depending on how people leave. For instance, your team have certain redundancy rights. ACAS can give you guidance on the different ways that a contract can end.

Chapter 3

Build your governance checklist

Read time:

2 mins

Writing it down

By now, you’re likely to have a list of laws and regulations to check. Maybe you’re starting to make a note of policies to change and other tasks. Sometimes, this can start to feel overwhelming.

It’s useful to make a note of everything that you might need to follow up, while it’s fresh in your mind. You may not have the time to do the research or update your policies right now. So it’s a good idea to build a checklist that you can refer to later on. This helps to reduce the stress of trying to remember what you’ll need to do.

 

Your checklist, step by step

It doesn’t matter how you jot this information down, as long as it makes sense to you. So use a format that you’re comfortable with.

This could be a digital document or spreadsheet. Perhaps you prefer to use a notebook or a mobile app. We’re going to suggest something that works in both digital and paper formats.

 

Step by step:

  1. Create a table with five columns
  2. Give your columns the following headings: Growth method, Business area, Related laws and regulations, Policies to update, Other actions
  3. Complete the table for each of the growth methods you’d like to use
  4. In the ‘Business area’ column, list any areas of your business that the growth method impacts – Finance, Sales, Customer service, etc.
  5. In the ‘Related laws and regulations’ column, list any rules or guidelines that you know about already. If you need to check for others, state this here too
  6. In the ‘Policies to update’ column, add any related documents. For example, Terms and Conditions or supplier contracts
  7. The ‘Other actions’ column is there for you to add tasks like arranging training or seeking expert advice

 

Using your checklist

Now you’ve built your checklist, you can add to it at any time. This will form an important part of your growth plan. So when you’re ready, you can start to work through the actions on it.

Related learning links

 

Lloyds Bank Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Lloyds Bank does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 23rd May 2023.