Step 1 Increasing your income

​Ways of increasing your business income

Enterprise agencies

  • Your local enterprise agency may be able to provide help with preparing a business plan or ways of improving your business. Search online for details of agencies in your area.
  • If you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, you can contact them for business advice.

Funding and grants

  • You can search for business finance, support, grants and loans using the Business funding and support finder. This will search for the help you need based on what your business does, the size of your business and where your business is located.

Enterprise Finance Guarantee

  • The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) can help your business get funding, for example when you can’t get a business loan because you have no business assets for it to be secured on.
  • You can use this money to invest in your business so it can grow and expand, helping to increase your business income. The lender you apply to will assess whether to give you a loan based on their own lending criteria.

Improving turnover and sales

  • You could call existing customers or target new ones to increase the amount of money coming into your business. Check to see whether it is worth paying for advertising to help do this.
  • A sale or a reduced rate may bring in new customers. A ‘loss leader’ can help to do this. A loss leader is when you offer goods or services without making a profit (or even making a loss) to help bring in more customers. The idea is that they will take other goods and services in the future, so you can make a profit.
  • If you have other businesses close by, you could consider working together to provide a ‘deal’ for customers. For example, if your business is a restaurant, you could offer a discount on meals if someone sees a film at the local cinema.

Review your prices

  • Regularly check that you are making enough profit on the goods and services you provide. You need to make sure that you are making enough money to pay your business outgoings and have enough left over to live on. Your prices should be set at a reasonable rate. They should be able to compete with any services and businesses in your area, but still make you enough profit.
  • Think about discontinuing certain lines or services which do not bring in much profit. This will help you concentrate on the things which have a higher profit margin. This could be existing goods or services, but you could also think about offering new ones.
  • Think about your trading hours. There may be certain times when you are usually busy and certain times when you are quiet. It may not be helpful to trade during quiet periods, but you could extend your trading hours when you are busier.
  • There may be whole parts of your business which are not as successful as other parts. Think about concentrating on the more profitable parts of the business. This may include stopping doing things that are not successful.

Important:

professional advice

Always get professional help from your accountant or business adviser before making any drastic changes to your business.

Late payments and bad debts

It is important to make sure all the money that is owed to you is paid on time. When customers buy goods or services from you but pay for them at a later date, this is known as getting ‘credit’ from you. ‘Credit control’ is a term used to describe how your business:

  • provides credit; and
  • collects money from your customers.

Good credit control procedures will make sure your business income is more stable, can help you plan better for the future and can help the business make a profit.

If someone owes you money and they are not paying you, you should speak to them to try to work out a solution. This may include:

  • arranging for them to pay in instalments; or
  • coming to an agreement if they are not paying the debt because they have a dispute with you about the invoice or the goods or services they bought.

If the person is only disputing part of an invoice, you should ask them to pay the part they are not disputing immediately. The rest of the money can be sorted out separately. Be careful not to harass the person who owes you money.

If you want more advice about recovering debts from other people or businesses, contact us for advice.

See our fact sheet:

Credit control.

If you have not been paid money you are owed, and you are registered for value added tax (VAT), you may be able to claim back the VAT on the debt. You can do this when the debt is more than six months old and you have written it off in your accounts (decided you won’t ever get the money back).