Before you started your business, you did a lot of research to make sure that it can be successful. You obtain some important information from different sources such as magazines and books. You also ask for help from the experts. Aside from investing your money on your business, you also invested most of your time and sweat equity on it. Now, it is finally operating, so what’s next?
If you are one of those who have successfully built their business, you might be wondering how you can grow your business. Typically, there are a lot of possibilities, here we will give you 10 strategies in growing your business. Choosing the right approach will greatly depend on several factors such as the type of your business as well as the resources that you are willing to invest in. If you want to grow your business, then here are some helpful tips that can help you.
1. Open another branch.
Apparently, this will depend if you have the available resources needed for opening another location. Most often, this is the first thing that comes to mind when business owners decide to have a business expansion. But according to business consultant Frances McGuckin, expansion is not always the best choice if you want your business to grow since this will require careful research and planning.
If you are considering another location, then you should have a business plan for it. When choosing a location, you should consider what is best for your business. You must have an extraordinary team who will handle your new location. Research about the latest trends so your business can endure. Most importantly, be sure that you have the money to support your business.
2. Start franchising.
If you have a successful business, then another way of expanding your business is to offer a franchise. This is something that can help you grow quickly. Even though this may cost a lot, and it involves a complicated process, yet it can truly make a difference if you are searching for quick growth. If you don’t have any knowledge about franchising, then no need to worry, you can always ask some help from the experts.
The owner of Young Rembrandts, Bette Fetter, started franchising after being in the business for ten years. According to Bette and her husband, Bill, they keep their business locally since it was just enough for them. But after ten years when their children have already grown older, they decided to expand nationally. They love franchising since they can control the staff who will be operating their business. At the same time, they enjoy it knowing that there are other people out there who are interested in their work.
The first thing they did was to simplify their system, then they started marketing their business in nearby states. Now, they already have 30 franchises across the nation. Before they started franchising, Young Rembrandts only has 2,500 students. Now, they have more than 9,000 students nationwide and it will continue to grow through franchising.
According to Bette, if you want to expand your business through franchising, then you should join the International Franchise Association and look for a mentor who can teach you the process of franchising. It is important that you are open to growing your vision.
3. Get a license for your product.
Licensing your product is a low-cost growth yet it is very effective. According to the director of the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship, Larry Bennett, if you obtain a license for your product, then you can enjoy some royalties from the sales or use of your product. Licensing does not require a lot of financing compared to starting your own business and selling your products. It also has lesser risks.
The first thing to do is to find a licensing partner that provides the same products as yours. But before doing this, Bennett advises that you have to look for a lawyer who is an expert in intellectual property rights to avoid any risks.
4. Create an alliance.
Associate yourself with other business owners who have the same type of business as yours. This is a guaranteed way of expanding your business instantly. Jim Labadie, an owner of a personal training firm, learned a lot of things from the CD seminar set that he purchased from Ryan Lee, a fitness professional. This allowed Labadie to create his own products and alliances. After realizing that Labadie’s products were well-received, Lee marketed them to his list of personal trainers. As a result, Labadie’s sales increased tremendously since he began selling his products. Additionally, Labadie was able to create alliances with other trainers and websites which sell his products and in return, Labadie gives them a commission.
Labadie advises that forming an alliance with other businesses that have a list of potential buyers is the quickest way of achieving success.
5. Broaden your horizons.
There are a lot of ways that you can diversify your products or services. McGuckin, a small-business consultant, offers some suggestions such as selling complementary products or services, importing or exporting products, offer classes, or be a speaker or columnist. McGuckin has tried diversifying, from getting involved in accounting, tax and consulting to becoming a speaker, writer, and publisher.
Diversifying has worked for business owners Rebecca Cutler and Jennifer Krane who created a unique line of maternity tennis wear known as “raising a racquet”. They have been planning to expand their products, so after acquiring more customers and brand recognition, they launched two new product lines, “’raising a racquet yoga” and “raising a racquet golf.”
Having these two new lines, allowed their retailer outlets to sell more products. According to Cutler, launching these new products widened their target customers and made them more competitive in the marketplace. This credibility gives them the chance to reach out to much larger retailers.
6. Explore other markets.
You are currently doing well on your current market, but do you want to explore other markets as well? McGuckin generates more money from several markets such as speaking engagements, entrepreneurship programs, software contributions, etc.
If the products that you are selling is intended for teenagers or college students, then do some research to know where they will likely stay most of the time. Can you market your products to schools or clubs? If you want, you could offer special discounts or donate some of your profits to schools.
7. Acquire a government contract.
According to Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, if you want to grow your business, then you should serve the federal government. The fact is the federal government is the largest buyer that you’ll ever have. You need to identify what type of contracts are more appropriate for your business. Business owners can be matched with specific buyers through the Business Matchmaking Program implemented by the SBA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to Bennett, from Johnson & Wales University, securing a government contract requires a lot of patience. Applications for proposals will also require a certain amount of research. It is important that you must conform to the terms and conditions. If you are not totally prepared for this, then you are just wasting your time. Ultimately, this requires a lot of work, but you also need to consider that it’s all worth it.
8. Obtain or join with other businesses.
If you truly want a faster way to grow your business, then you should try acquiring other businesses. Try looking for competitors, or even businesses in different industries that can supplement to your own. You could search for potential prospects within or outside your industry.
When Mark Fasciano started FatWire, a content management software company, he had no idea what would happen to his business in the future. As his company started to increase its market, there was an extreme tech recession. Fasciano says that they did not gain the growth that they needed so that they can form an alliance with the major companies. During this time, they focus more on serving their clients so the business can survive. But at the same time, they are also looking for ways to make their company grow. Fortunately, that opportunity came when one of its competitors go bankrupt.
FatWire was able to acquire divine Inc. According to Fasciano, the merging of the two companies was stressful but it was successful due to four factors. These are client retention, employee retention, the fusion of technologies, and its focus.
Fasciano successfully spoke and met with some clients so they were able to keep at least 95% of its customers. He also chose the best and the most intelligent employees of divine Inc. and rehired them. Since there was a similarity in the products that they offer, the merging of the two technologies was easy. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons why the acquisition was a success is the focus that FatWire has provided to a product that was disregarded.
After FatWire merged with divine Inc, there was an increase in their clients from 50 to 400. The business also developed to 150%. Previously they generated $6 million, then after its acquisition, it grew into $15 million. Fasciano also anticipated that he can gain $25 million sales right after the merging of the two companies.
9. Experience global growth.
Do you think your business has the potential to expand internationally? Do you have what it takes to compete internationally? Would you like to take your business to Mexico, Canada, or Europe? International expansion is another quick way of growing your business. Evidently, this will involve some costs, but you also need to consider its potential profits.
Aside from growing its sales and clients, FatWire also developed its business globally after acquiring divine Inc. and incorporating their technologies with theirs. Fasciano revealed that they were able to build new offices in other countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, China, and Singapore.
Because of the growth in the market share, FatWire was able to experience continued growth. However, it does not mean that you have to purchase another business so that you can experience global expansion. All you need to do is focus on the international market. This is just what FatWire did after they merged with divine’s technologies.
It would also be great if you can find a foreign distributor for your products. There are a lot of ways to find a foreign distributor. You can search for foreign companies in your city or state. You could also try looking for distributors in the chambers of commerce in foreign countries and in trade groups.
10. Build your internet presence.
According to Bill Gates, there are only two types of businesses, the ones which joined the internet and the ones that do not have any business at all. Sally Falkow, a Web content strategist, reveals that maybe this is just an overstatement, however, these days, it is essential that your business must have a website.
The key is to make sure that your website shows up on the search engine results. Falkow states that at least 80% of your website’s traffic originates from search engines. There are now billions of websites on the internet and traffic constantly increases each day. Hence, it is essential that your website must be visible.
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider if you want to generate more traffic on your website. Although design and programming are vital, yet having relevant content is more important since this can attract more attention from users. If you want them to stay, then you should provide them with good content. Falkow suggests that you need to develop an effective content strategy, track your visitors, and write content based on high ranking keywords. By doing all of these you can obtain a high ranking on search engine results.
Building an email list is one of the most effective ways of growing your business. Evidently, to help you gain a lot of subscribers, you need to offer them something that can grab their attention. This can help you generate more sales.
You could also use social media networks in promoting your business. Aside from gaining more customers, you can also get some insights about their behavior. You can learn more about the latest trends. As a result, you can attract more customers.