There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s journey when they must ask themselves how their organization might look in five years.
While the answer isn’t always immediately clear, most small business owners will have one goal in mind: growth. Expanding your business isn’t just a noble idea, it’s a necessary one. After all, your company’s survival depends on your ability to evolve and grow.
Even if you’re confident in your goals, accomplishing them is often easier said than done. If you’re eager to push your business beyond basics and turn it into the revenue-generating behemoth you’ve always dreamed, try out one or more of the following six strategies:
1. Target new demographics
Knowing your target audience is critical for developing marketing strategies that will appeal to your customers. It’s easy, though, to rest on those laurels and get a little too comfortable selling only to one kind of customer. Push your team to expand beyond the obvious and consider what other markets might be viable for your services and products.
Reaching your target with the right message via the right medium isn’t an easy task. That’s why you should always ramp up your advertising efforts when pushing into a new market. To know what works best for a new demographic, you’ll have to try a few different tactics at first.
2. Add new products to your offerings
If your customers love what you provide, then they’re likely to be interested in spending more money on additional offerings you provide. Don’t have other products or services to offer? It’s time to do some research. Figure out the wants and needs of your customer base and determine a solution. Once you figure out how much they’d be willing to pay for that solution, you’ll know whether or not producing it is profitable.
This is where market research can be truly invaluable. Before you commit capital or human resources to expanding your offerings, conduct thorough research by asking your current customers about new product ideas. Be sure to discuss prices, too. You’ll want to ensure the expansion is worth your time before you excite too many of your customers.
3. Sell more to your customer base
In addition to expanding to other markets or offering new products, it’s important that you make the most of your current customer base. Perform a market segmentation analysis to better understand the customers that are more likely to buy from you again. Then, ramp up advertising and offer coupons to the targeted customers. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much business you’ll do by nurturing the relationships you already have.
4. Invest in employees
If you’re questioning how to grow your business without first building a quality team of employees, you’ll likely be shouldering too much. Whether you have a skeleton crew that needs expanding or if you’re ready to hire a few people for new key roles, investing in your employees is one of the most surefire ways to grow your business. After all, your employees should be walking, talking ambassadors for your brand. When treated with care and respect, they will take pride in sharing their love for your company with the world. In a society that’s increasingly focused on the rights of employees and healthy workplace environments, investing in your team is mutually beneficial.
Many businesses operate with a relatively small team. This requires employees to be generalists, and to willingly give up some of their valuable time at work to roll up their sleeves and help with administrative tasks like taking orders and answering phones. Imagine how much more your company could accomplish with a remote receptionist to manage incoming calls. Invest in your employees by taking administrative tasks off their hands and allowing them to focus on the projects that are most important for their role.
5. Create passive streams of income
The best businesses earn money while their employees sleep. Consider the way artists paint just one piece of artwork but sell thousands of print versions with virtually no extra effort on their part. That’s the beauty of a passive income stream. Pour your efforts into creating a product that can be repackaged and sold countless times over. Passive income streams can afford your company the luxury of trial and error while still managing to keep the lights on.
6. Acquire another business
There’s no faster path to expansion than merging with another business. You can double your size virtually overnight, with twice the number of customers, products and employees. Of course, mergers and acquisitions are nothing if not complicated, and the path towards expansion can sometimes be rocky. By doing your due diligence, though, you can look for synergies between two companies and determine which might make your business stronger.
Take your business to the next level by exploring what it would take to implement one or more of these six suggestions. Going beyond your standard operating procedures is often necessary to grow your company. Seldom is it simple, but if you put in the work you’ll be able to remain competitive and continue your ascent to success.