By Andrew Millard, Sr. Director Marketing – International for SaaS division at Citrix

For a small business, increasing its sphere of influence is one of the first steps towards a clear path of growth. Collaborating with more people is a key way of doing this - whether it’s new advisers, clients, customers, partners or staff.

But increased growth means increased risk - Lord Young’s recent Government report revealed that 56% of SMEs seeking finance don’t apply because they don’t want to take on additional risk. With this in mind, how do SME owners best grow their businesses to scale, whilst minimising risk?

A great place to start is with the Government Growth Vouchers scheme which gives small businesses in England up to £30 million worth of subsidised advice from thousands of experts. Since it was announced by Lord Young in January last year, £2 million worth of vouchers have been provided to more than 1,000 SMBs, helping them pay for expert strategic advice in areas such as finance, technology and marketing.

One of Citrix’s customers, web consultancy Conversion Rate Experts is a supporter of the scheme - Ben Jesson, CEO thinks that it can make a tangible difference:

“Small businesses are in a chicken-and-egg situation. Companies most need help when they have little time or money, but help costs money, and finding it takes time. The Growth Vouchers scheme alleviates both of these obstacles.”

Enterprise Nation is also helping SMBs looking to grow by highlighting some of the UK’s best business mentors in its search to find the UK’s top 50 advisers. Over the coming months an expert panel will be judging recommended candidates, before announcing the top 50 in January. To nominate someone, or even yourself, click here.

After finding the right partners to collaborate with, the next step is being able to establish a successful working relationship with them, and using effective technology is one way of doing this. Citrix’s video conferencing software GoToMeeting is a simple way to hold unlimited face to face online meetings, in
HD for up to 25 people at once. Attendees can join from anywhere via a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone or Android device, and its additional features such as screen sharing make it a great collaboration tool.

Citrix recently added GoToMeeting free to its portfolio of products too. It’s an ideal tool for SMBs looking to have those initial conversations with advisers because it’s free, hosts up to 3 people (using Chrome) and is entirely browser based so there’s no need to download any software.

Small businesses using technology to seek advice and outsource specialist functions are already seeing big gains over their rivals. When used effectively, it enables them to keep costs down, stay nimble and respond rapidly to new opportunities to fuel growth.