So you’ve successfully launched your business. You have a steady flow of customers and you’re making enough profit to start investing back into the business.
If you’ve followed the marketpreneurs high-performance low-cost business model, it will only be a matter of time when you’re out of that initial startup stage, and ready to take your business to the next level.
But the reality is, growing your business can be just as challenging as starting it. Now is not the time to get complacent.
You’ve built a wealth of experience and knowledge. You’ve persevered through challenging times, you’ve begged and borrowed everything you’ve needed to reach the stage you're now at.
Use these experiences to take your business to the next level. To reach that goal you set yourself when you first envisioned your business, whatever it may be.
Come up with a growth strategy
Every business is unique, so unfortunately, there is no one size fits all growth formula. Even if there was, every business owner will have set their own idea of success. Is it to become the most recognised brand in your sector? Is it hitting that 1 million revenue marker? Is it helping others to achieve their own personal goals?
Whatever your target, if you’re ready for growth, it’s time to come up with your growth strategy.
Go back to that all important research. Appreciate what you’ve achieved, and think where you want to be in a year or two, or maybe even 10 or 20.
Once you have figured out those goals, create a plan for how you are going to get there. Here’s a little inspiration to help you come up with your own growth plan.
1. Grow your online presence
We’ve entered a digital age, where everything we need is available through the click of a mouse or touch of a button.
One thing that surprises me is how little online presence many businesses have, even established ones. Those typical justifications that “my business focuses on locality” or “my shop front is all the presence I need” no longer stand. If you want to grow, you need to follow the trend, and the current trend is digital presence and mobile accessibility.
Around 90% of adults in the UK regularly use the internet. This is a potential market that’s too big to ignore.
Time to revamp the website. Get on social media. Improve your digital communications strategy. Or hire someone to do this all for you. Either way, one of the easiest ways to grow a business is by improving its visibility.
2. Open new stores
If a physical shop front is essential for your business, why not open more? Perhaps it’s time for your trusted employee to take the helms of your current store, and for you to focus your efforts on opening a new one.
To ensure the success of a new store, careful planning needs to take place. Think about the costs involved, and who would be well positioned to run it. Think about locality. What’s best in terms of business opportunities rather than just the cheapest premises to let. Consider if any developments need to be made to your existing infrastructure to allow two or more stores to run seamlessly, so you can continue with your growth strategy.
Perhaps opening a new store would be too demanding on your time and resources. Well there’s an alternative, and that’s franchising.
Franchising arrangements can take many different forms, and there’s plenty of information available to help you consider whether it’s the right route to take. The International Franchise Association is a great place to start.
Franchising really is a great way of growing a business, and you can continue to retain control over many aspects of the business that you worked hard to establish.
4. Diversify your goods or services
So, you’ve been selling the same goods or services to a handful of interested customers. But what about everyone else? What other pain points can you solve for the market and how are you positioned to meet them?
If you’ve already established a reputation and good brand image, it can be pretty simple to launch a new product or service. Use your existing customer base to help you spread the word.
Selling new products to new customers is a great way of scaling up your business with little risk. The important thing to remember is that this is about diversifying your current offerings rather than replacing existing areas of your business which have already proved to be a success.
5. Create a partnership
One problem that startups and growing business commonly face is operating a business in a market with fierce competition. It makes it that much harder to stand out from the crowd.
If you have managed to make a success of a business in a competitive market, then you’ve achieved something incredible. Don’t stop there. Think about how you can continue swimming with the current and utilise industry trends and your business know-how.
A simple way of growing a business is by considering what partnership opportunities there are. A merger or partnership can help you become a powerhouse in your sector, and can help relieve business stress caused by growing competition in your market.
The growing business is…
The one that achieves its own ambitious goals. It’s easy to get drawn into complacency. But you started your business for a reason – and once you’ve satisfied that reason – that’s when you can consider your business truly successful.
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