Overcoming Barriers In Scaling Up Your Business

Running a small or medium-sized business is the stuff of dreams for many people, but only a few actually make it a reality. Having rumbled along nicely for a while, the business is now going well and you’re fully in the swing of things - so now is the time to think about scaling up.

Unfortunately this is not always as easy as it sounds. Although growth is a fantastic (and necessary) goal to have, there are many barriers that could well be standing in the way. Luckily however, it’s well within your power to overcome these obstacles; the answer simply lies in recognising what they are, and planning strategies to overcome them. Here we look at some common barriers to growth and how to tackle them.

1. Not accurately defining the vision and purpose of the company

Being clear about the purpose of your business and what it intends to achieve going forward is essential. Not only does it give direction, it also helps employees understand their targets. A robust company culture often makes staff feel more committed and involved, giving a good foundation from which to meet any challenges head on.

2. Struggling to choose - and keep - the very best talent

When you’re looking to scale up quickly, finding the perfect people for certain roles can be difficult. The temptation is to hire someone who’s ‘okay’ rather than ‘perfect’, simply because there wasn’t really anyone else suitable.

However, recruiting this way can be a mistake, as the new team member may not be entirely experienced or skilled enough to take your business forward. Recruit strategically and wait for the right person to come along, even if it takes a while.

In terms of retention, this is not always about money - it’s also heavily about culture. A good team dynamic with members that work well together will go a very long way, and will reflect well on your business too.

3. Not having scalable infrastructure

It’s crucial that companies have a modern, well-structured IT and facilities infrastructure that can handle the demands and complexities that growth can bring. A crumbling infrastructure and lack of clear thinking will frustrate customers and employees alike. It’s not conducive to effective growth and is likely to damage reputation and morale too.

4. A lack of partnerships and useful networks

When you’re bogged down with the day to day running of a business it’s easy to become rather insular. Looking outside your business and gaining advice from external sources can allow you to partner with people you may otherwise not have come across. This can open doors to things like new markets or boost your marketing power, which are both things you’ll need when scaling up. It’s also worth participating in industry groups as well as attending seminars, workshops and conferences to keep updated with news in your field, new trends and to exchange information. This value is likely to be worth far more longer term than you may think.

5. Difficulties in raising funding and money management issues

Finding investors and raising capital is hard, and productively managing the money you do have in your business is vital. Indeed, this is something that many businesses fall foul of, and even ones that do find funding streams will often be up against other companies vying for the same funding.

Maintaining a robust business case and processes when you make your pitch is incredibly important. Make sure you know your stuff, and have anticipated the questions you’re likely to be asked. Doing your homework and giving a polished, professional presentation can help you get the edge you need.

6. Not being aware of government financial incentives

Following on from the above, a big problem many business owners face is a lack of knowledge around what financial backing there is available.

The government knows that growing a business is expensive. The money that needs to be spent on new staff, materials, prototypes, software, salaries and much more can be very difficult to find, especially for SMEs. The good news however is there’s a range of Revenue-backed growth incentives available to businesses that can be worth many thousands of euros.

For example, there’s research and development (R&D) Tax Credits. An incredibly lucrative scheme rolled out by the government in the early 2000s, it’s open to any Irish company in any sector that has recently undergone innovative projects. Essentially, it’s aimed at companies which have set out to enhance technical or scientific knowledge in their field, either by developing a new product/service or process, or by transforming one that already exists. The scope of eligible activities and costs is huge, and the relief is offered regardless of whether the project was a success or if the company has made a loss.

Sounds great - and it is - but the downside is the application process. It’s notoriously difficult and the onus is on you to not only reference the R&D work undertaken but to prove why you think it’s eligible for the tax relief. There’s a large margin for error, leaving you open to a costly and stressful Revenue investigation. This is why it’s so important you enlist the help of specialist R&D tax advisors such as ourselves, so we can guide you along the way to success.

You can find out more about R&D Tax Credits - and R&D Grants - on the Myriad Associates website.

Who should I turn to for R&D tax advice?

Although many Irish accountancy firms can offer a limited amount of R&D tax relief advice, here at Tax Cloud (part of Myriad Associates), we work entirely in R&D tax relief claims. We are specialists in this area, with a 100% success rate, meaning you can rest assured that you’re getting the best advice and guidance.

Also don’t forget to try the Tax Cloud calculator. There’s a section specially designed for businesses and is an excellent tool which will show you how much your Irish company could receive.

For further advice or to ask the team a question, feel free to get in touch on +353 1 566 2001 or use our contact page - we’ll be pleased to assist you.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Myriad Associates helps businesses maximise tax credits and secure R&D grant funds. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Enterprise Ireland grants.

  • Submitting R&D tax claims since 2001
  • 100% success rate
  • Over €100m claimed and counting
  • Industry leading specialists
  • In-house technical, costing and tax experts
  • Member of the Research and Development Consultative (RDCC) committee

Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
David Farbey David Farbey MA, FISTC, FRSA Technical Consultancy Director
Lisa Waller Lisa Waller CTA, ACCA R&D Tax Manager
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson MA, MISTC Senior Technical Consultant