Growing your business: many ways are possible
The growth of any business relies on its owner’s desire for growth, a good business idea, and strong skills. Many forms of support and advice are available for businesses seeking growth.
To grow a business, additional finance — a loan, support or new capital — is always needed, and to get that, the business must have a firm foundation. In addition to finance, growth requires real desire, passion and of course skills. To grow your business, you’ll need to work hard, meaning you and all your employees will have to commit to it and be ready to learn.
In what ways can a business grow?
A business can seek growth in many ways. If you have already identified your business’s growth needs, think about the following options. You can grow your business by:
- Expanding in Finland and abroad
- Buying a competitor
- Developing products and innovating
- Developing skills
Your business can grow by expanding is operations in Finland and beyond. When planning on spreading your operations elsewhere, you often need both additional finance and a range of advice.
You can apply to banks for additional funding. Finnvera, owned by the Finnish state, also offers businesses additional finance for expansion and growth.
It’s also worth taking advantage of various support schemes. For example, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) offer support for SME growth, and Business Finland has a wide variety of supports for businesses with their eye on international markets.
Read more about finance and forms of support:
When expanding abroad, in particular, you will need a lot of information and advice.
Our guide to finance and services for businesses expanding internationally tells you who you can turn to in different situations.
Changes of ownership are an important tool for growth. A business can grow by acquiring another business’s existing operations. Through acquisitions, you can expand your market share and expand into new fields. Other ways businesses change hands is when the next generation takes over, and other ownership arrangements.
You can achieve growth by developing new products and services and bringing them to the market. Remember that a growth-hungry business can apply to places like Business Finland for assistance and finance for product development and innovation. It’s also worth remembering that businesses’ and research organizations’ innovation networks can offer opportunities for developing your business.
Growth is impossible without continual learning. This is vital for success.
Knowhow is one of your business’s most important resources. It’s important to ensure that your and your employees’ skills are up to date.
Remember apprenticeships, in particular. For a business owner, apprenticeships are a good way to recruit and train staff for completely new positions. Business owners can also be apprentice themselves in their own businesses.
To help you, we’ve written two guides in which we tell you what you can do to ensure you continue to develop, and how you can support development of your employees’ competence.
To grow, you may of course also need new employees — or growth might allow you to hire more people.
Download the guide: Guide to hiring your first employee
How is a growth enterprise defined?
As defined by the OECD and the EU, a growth enterprise is a business which initially employs at least 10 people and in the next three years increases its headcount by at least 20% a year.
Statistics Finland uses headcount increase as its general criterion for growth enterprise status, but growth in business activity can also be measured in turnover.
A start-up, on the other hand, is generally a young business, no more than a few years old, with a basis in innovative ideas. It is only developing its first product and not necessarily yet turning a profit. Start-ups also generally pursue rapid growth. A start-up is thus often a growth enterprise, but a growth enterprise is not necessarily a start-up. It’s worth bearing in mind that all business, regardless of age or sector, start-up or not, can pursue growth.