How to grow your business in Portsmouth | 6 Top Business Tips

How to grow your business in Portsmouth

Are you a self-employed small business owner in Portsmouth looking to take your business to the next level? Or perhaps an aspiring start-up business seeking funding and premises? If so, you are in luck; our great city is a hub of entrepreneurship with a strong, supportive business community.

There is an abundance of free support, resources and networking opportunities in Portsmouth, led by Portsmouth City Council, various business groups and industry forerunners. To further unlock your Portsmouth business’s potential, it’s vital to keep your finances in good shape.

Whether your business is already established here in Portsmouth, you are relocating here or starting a new business, read on for VW Taxation’s guide on how to grow your business in Portsmouth.

For friendly advice on business accounting and tax, please get in touch with one of our experienced accountants today.

Snapshot of the Portsmouth business community

Portsmouth, UK, has always been a city of enterprise. The city is famous for its rich maritime history, and its strategic location on the Solent has fuelled centuries of commerce and innovation. Today, Portsmouth is a hub for marine, aerospace, defence, and advanced manufacturing industries on a global scale.

Times may have changed, but the entrepreneurial spirit here is still strong. As of 2022, there were 7,810 established businesses in the Portsmouth area. An astonishing 76% of those were classed as micro-businesses (less than 10 employees and an annual turnover under €2 million), and 17.3% were small to medium-sized businesses (less than 250 employees and an annual turnover under €50 million).

The majority of these businesses are in the construction and professional, technical and scientific sectors. There is also a strong retail sector spanning the City Centre, Southsea, Gunwharf Quays and the 14 district centres.

What resources are available to small businesses in Portsmouth?

The keys to helping your business grow (along with good financial management) are community and collaboration. Portsmouth offers a wealth of support and resources, from grants and business finance options to networking events and business support services. Let’s explore a few.

Shaping Portsmouth

Shaping Portsmouth, a well-established non-profit organisation, offers a range of resources to empower local businesses and support economic development. Through its mentorship program, small business owners can gain valuable one-to-one advice and guidance from industry leaders.

Portsmouth Business Support Services (PBSS)

Portsmouth Business Support Services is a joint initiative by Portsmouth City Council and Shaping Portsmouth. It offers various services designed to support small businesses, encourage business start-ups and increase survival rates.

Services include a dedicated business helpline, mentoring, and skills development. They also provide access to business data and offer advice on funding, grants, and sourcing office space. For new businesses and start-ups, there are lots of free resources to help craft effective business plans and secure funding.

One of the council’s most recent initiatives is the Portsmouth Pop-Up Shop scheme. It offers temporary retail space at a discounted rate within Cascades, Portsmouth’s main shopping centre. It’s a great opportunity for new businesses and start-ups to test the waters and connect with customers without a long-term lease commitment.

Visit the PBSS website for information.

Solent Growth Hub

The Solent Growth Hub (run by Solent Partners) is an industry-led initiative designed to promote prosperity and sustainability throughout the region. The group has formed strategic partnerships with various organisations, enabling them to offer a wide range of support services, all driven by their economic vision of the future, titled “Solent 2050”.

Their services include business advice, access to mentoring, business clinics, workshops, training, and access to business funding. They also aim to upskill the local workforce with Skills Bootcamps and connect young people with career opportunities and employers.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce

Joining the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce can connect you with a vast network of businesses and provide access to valuable resources, including 100+ networking events each year, training programmes, and business development opportunities.

VW Taxation’s top 6 tips on growing your business in Portsmouth

As a small business, VW Taxation is dedicated to collaborating and helping other companies in the Solent area to thrive. Here are our top six pieces of advice on how to grow your business in Portsmouth. Feel free to get in touch to find out more about our small business accounting services.

1. Financial and business planning

For new ventures and start-up businesses, it’s essential to develop a robust business plan that outlines your goals, objectives, and strategies for growth. Along with a number of free resources from the organisations mentioned above, it’s also valuable to seek professional advice from financial experts like VW Taxation.

See Portsmouth City Council website for free resources to aid business planning.

2. Collaborate and network

Fostering connections and sharing knowledge with other local businesses can provide valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities. Join as many local business organisations and attend as many networking events as you can to raise your profile, promote brand awareness, expand your customer base and share insights. A good place to start is Portsmouth City Council’s monthly B2B networking event.

3. Work on your digital marketing strategy

In today’s digital world, it’s essential to enhance your online presence to reach a wider audience. Consider an investment in search engine optimisation (SEO) and keep your social media channels up-to-date to attract new customers and drive traffic to your website.

It’s also really important to optimise your Google Business Profile and various free online directories to increase visibility within the local community and attract potential customers searching for your products or services in Portsmouth.

4. Find the right business premises

Finding the right business premises is crucial to success as it directly impacts accessibility, visibility, operational efficiency, customer reach, and overall productivity. Portsmouth boasts a diverse range of business premises, from office space to labs to warehouses.

Office Space: There are countless business parks and traditional office spaces, such as Lakeside North Harbour. There are also a growing number of co-working premises ideal for start-ups and creatives, like Innovation Space, Victory Business Centre, and The Cell Block at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Serviced office providers such as Regus offer fully equipped office spaces with flexible lease terms.

Retail Units: Prime locations like Commercial Road, Cascades and Gunwharf Quays offer retail spaces suitable for shops, boutiques, or cafes.

Industrial Units: Industrial estates like Airport Industrial Park or Limberline Spur provide spaces for manufacturing, warehousing, or distribution businesses.

5. Cost management

The UK economy’s is in a state of turmoil, which can have a devastating effect on small businesses. Spiralling overheads are a particular concern for many. It’s essential for small business owners to adopt proactive measures to manage their costs effectively.

Conduct a thorough review of your expenses and identify areas where savings can be made without compromising on quality or productivity. This might involve renegotiating contracts with suppliers, exploring alternative sourcing options, or using technology to streamline operations.

Of course, managing costs relies on accurate financial records. A good set of accounts can help you identify areas of overspending, streamline expenses, and make informed decisions about spending. This leads us to…

6. Invest in professional accounting services

When you run your own business, the advice of a professional accountant can be hugely beneficial. It’s more affordable than you might think, and there’s no need to outsource all of your accounting needs, you can select from a range of services, like tax planning or bookkeeping, for example.

A local expert like VW Taxation can implement robust accounting systems, track expenses, create budgets and develop strategies to improve your profitability.

VW Taxation: supporting local businesses in the South Coast

As we’ve seen, there is strong support for aspiring business owners in our great city. This, along with good financial management, can help lay a solid foundation for your company’s growth.

VW Taxation is committed to empowering businesses in Portsmouth to maintain financial management, save money and achieve their full potential. Our combination of financial expertise and deep understanding of the Portsmouth business scene can deliver a real benefit to your small business.

We offer a wide range of accountancy and tax services, including bookkeeping, payroll and annual accounting. Our clients include all sorts of small businesses, such as sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. We have particular expertise in CIS and accounting for construction businesses.

Contact us today for a friendly chat and find out how we are helping businesses in Portsmouth.

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Picture of Gary Ellis | Director | VW Taxation
Gary Ellis | Director | VW Taxation

VW Taxation are self employment tax specialists based in Portsmouth. We specialise in tax accounting for contractors, limited companies and the self-employed.

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