When you first opened your business, you may have done a fair amount of research, sought help from multiple advisors, you may have collected your information from books, magazines and other sources.
You probably invested a lot of time and money to get your business off the ground, and it worked!
Yes, that was the hardest step. But who said the rest was going to be easy?
So, now that you’ve had your small business up and running for some time, you may be wanting more. Most business owners and entrepreneurs want their business to grow and keep growing.
But how do you get from being a small business to being a big one? We have some answers.
These are some of the most effective tips for expanding your small business that can get you to the next level.
1. Introduce new products/services
This may sound easy. However, you are likely to encounter a few bumps on the road to expanding your small business by adding new products or services.
First, you need to do thorough market research in order to find out which product/service your current customer base needs and how much you can charge them.
Underestimating their budget is one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs can make. Before investing a large amount of money into the new product/service, ask your current customers to express their opinion on your new product/service idea.
In addition to customer demand, you need to focus on how much you need to invest in the product and whether it pays off.
2. Focus on the right customers
For starters, you should perform analysis so as to divide your customers into different segments. The groups can be formed based on their age, location, gender, etc.).
Identify which customer segments are more likely to purchase a certain product and start focusing on these segments.
For example, targeting the young demographic has helped companies like Red Bull and Pepsi become the giants that they are today.
3. Introduce a loyalty program
This is a good strategy to increase sales with your current customers. Attracting new customers is three to ten times more costly than selling a product to the existing ones.
Whether it costs three or ten times more, gaining new customers is not cheap. An attractive customer loyalty program can not only help you retain the existing customers and increase sales, but it can also help you acquire new ones.
Whatever you invest in this program should definitely pay off in the long run.
4. Partner with other companies
You may be able to survive alone, but you will really thrive only if you form an alliance with other brands and businesses.
Finding a partner can be of great help when expanding your small business. But not just any partner.
Partnering with the right companies, ones that are complementary to your own will help you reach customers quickly and retain them.
Since the collaboration would benefit them as well, other businesses should be eager to join forces with you.
5. Expand your small business into new territories
In order to grow your customer base, you need to explore new territories. You might find a sea of new customers in different locations from the ones where you operate at the moment.
The key is not to get comfortable at one or two locations but to keep spreading. If expanding to a new area is not possible at the moment, perhaps you should consider moving your entire business elsewhere.
Whether you add new locations or just change your current location, you’ll need to invest both time and money.
Therefore, again, thorough research is necessary before making such a big step. You need to be sure there is enough customer demand in the new area to justify the move/expansion.
If you need to move your business facility, make sure you inform your current customers on time.
6. Try new sales and delivery channels
A new sales and delivery channel can truly reinvent any business. The perfect example is the Internet. For instance, thanks to the world wide web, brick-and-mortar retailers can open online stores.
Also, all sorts of companies can reach a much broader audience by advertising online and using search engine optimization strategies to rank highly in Google searches.
So, make a good website/app for your business and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities the Internet is offering us.
7. Seek financing for your business expansion
Remember when you had to raise capital for your startup?
Expansion may require something similar. We have already mentioned how important it is to prepare a financial plan in advance.
Analyze your current financial situation to see if you have the funds to support the expansion of your small business.
Due to the importance and complexity of this task, make sure the people who do the analysis have enough knowledge and experience.
After all, the future of your business is at stake. In case you need any financial assistance, apply for financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
SBA has developed a number of financial programs for small businesses across the nation. The other alternatives you have to get a loan to finance your expansion include credit unions, banks and alternative online lenders.
Although the condition of the economy plays an important role, it is not the only factor that determines whether expanding your small business is possible and to what extent.
We are sure you and your team can find a way to implement one or more of these strategies for small business expansion and reach your goal sooner rather than later.
Of course, what the right strategies are in your case depends on your industry, available resources, and how much time and effort you are willing to invest in this project.