When you first started your business, you probably did a lot of research. You probably reached out to advisors, consulted with investors; you may have sought a loan, and you probably learned from books, magazines and conversations with your contemporaries. You’ve established a product and premises and you’ve invested your sweat and your time in establishing your direction.
But now what? Taking your business from its infancy to the next stages of growth can be difficult and there are numerous possibilities to ensure success. Here are a list of 10 ways to grow your business to help you keep your momentum for the future.
- Open another location. This might not be first on your agenda, but it’s often thought of as the watchword of expansion. More physical space entails more employees, which itself entails more man-hours and productivity. It’s important to make sure that you have the overhead to support such an endeavor, and a careful examination of your recent growth can help you gauge if this is the right move.
- Merge with, or acquire another business. Using existing capital to merge with like-minded companies can be a great way to expand. With careful attention to employee retention, you could find yourself with a windfall of new talent and fresh ideas to move forward.
- Expand to the Internet. It’s now given that most young companies are using the Internet in some way to drive their profits. Studies show that 80% of traffic comes via search engines, so working with a Search Engine Optimization firm can be a great way to ensure you and your product are at the top of the list when the keystrokes come it.
- Target other markets. You’re secure in what you are currently able to provide. Why not look into some of the other services you can provide? Strength in diversity, and diversity through understanding.
- Offer your business as a franchise. If your goal is to reach as many people as possible with your product, franchising is a great way to grow with minimal risk to yourself. It allows you to keep your focus local while building brand loyalty and an expanded customer base.
- 6. License your product. This is a low-cost, low-risk option and can be particularly important for software developers and branded products. Research companies that provide similar services to yours and look at their licensing options to get your hands around what you can expect from this process.
- Diversify. Export your product, or import others’. Offer continued education classes in your field. Outsource employees as paid keynote speakers at relevant universities. Sell complimentary products. You can enhance your income stream and build loyalty and brad recognition by engaging with the market in a dynamic and fun way. Use your imagination!
- Turn your customers into your sales force. By offering price-reduction incentives to existing customers for referrals, you can improve sales with limited risk.
- Automate. If you are an Internet startup, chances are you’re spending a great deal of time with tasks that can be automated with a little IT knowhow. Mailing lists, client databases and more can be handled by macros designed to save you time, energy and cash.
- Participate in trade shows. This can be a great way to grow your business, because trade shows already attract people interested in the type of product or service you offer, they can dramatically impact your bottom line. Further, they’re great networking opportunities and can allow you to form lasting relationships with contemporaries that may prove beneficial in the future.