Take Your Small Business To The Next Level
By Katrina Sawa
Now that you have built a successful business, you have an established customer base and you are fairly well known in your geographical area, your industry or both, what do you do to stay ahead of your competition? You might want to consider the following tips to help you to expand your business.
The following are tips to help you increase the size of your business and take it to the next level.
- Open another location. Either open another location or move into an office space if you are currently working from a home office. This may not be the best choice for expansion; however, it is the first thing business owners often do. If you are thinking of doing this, be sure you are maintaining a consistent bottom-line profit and that you have shown steady growth over the past few years. You also want to ensure your infrastructure, staff and your systems can accommodate the growth. Finally, research the demand of taking this next step and how it will affect your decision.
- Expand your product or service lines to compliment the ones you currently have. This will allow you to offer more selection and it makes your products and services more appealing to your customer base. However, first, you need to conduct market research to determine which products and/or services are in demand, which would be profitable for you, and which would be affordable to your customers.
- Find ways to increase repeat business for your current customers. This is a lot less expensive than locating new customers. Initiate reorder cards that you can send out to remind customers to reorder products and/or services when you want them to, not just when they remember to do so. Contact them more often with a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter via email or mail to ensure the customer is keeping you on the top of their minds for additional sales. Consider developing volume sales discounts, monthly rates, or other discounts to entice them to purchase more at a time or for a longer period of time than instead of just a single sale. If you can, try to get your customer to contract with your business, if your business is set up to do so.
- Update your Website or develop a new one if you do not have one. Be sure to add monthly specials, discounts and/or promotions on your site – especially on the home page to attract attention. Ensure individuals/businesses visiting your site sign up in order to qualify to win a drawing or receive a discount, so that you can add them to your database. You can also add products and/or services to sell online. If done correctly, this adds sales and reduces the time necessary to locate these sales. These are typically bonus sales above and beyond anything you would normally sell since they are from a different ‘group’ of people.
- Target other markets. Only do this if you have already saturated your primary target market. For example, if you sell to teens, consider beginning marketing your product and/or service to college students.
- Turn your business into a franchise or franchise opportunity. You will need to ensure you have developed all your operating systems needed in order to make your business a smooth-running machine first, however. You can network within the franchise industry.
- Add a partner or merge with another existing complimentary business. With the right agreement and business plan, taking this step can be beneficial to both parties involved. Be sure to hire a reputable attorney to review all the paperwork and look out for your best interests.
- Go global. Find alternate ways to market yourself globally if you do not already do so. Consider ways to tweak your business in order to offer your business and/or services to consumers outside your current area. Have you considered teleseminars, Webinars, shopping cart Websites, or search engines?