Planning of expand a business is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. While there certainly is a lot of work involved, the potential benefit to your business should be enough motivation for exploring the opportunities available.
Here are 20 top ways to expand your small business:
1. Get the Timing Right
Timing is everything in business. While only you can decide the best way to expand a business your business and the right time, here are some signs to look for:
- Business is booming and you don’t have the resources to fully capitalize on it
- Customers are looking for products and services that you don’t offer currently
- You have a lot of extra capital in reserves
- You’ve outgrown your location
- You could benefit from a profitable business venture
2. Set Goals and Meet Them
Set clear, forward-thinking goals for your business expansion. To be successful as you expand a business, you need to determine which portions of your business need to be developed to reach your goals. Consider that expansion for your business likely will be quite different from your neighbor’s company.
For example, a retailer may want to pursue expansion by increasing its brand footprint and selling products in other outlets. On the other hand, a pest-control business may see expansion as adding additional employees and equipment.
3. Make Your Brand Known
Your brand and business go hand in hand. Strive to increase your visibility to existing customers as well as potential ones you hope to attract. How do you go about doing this? Consider what forms of advertising you could use to reach your target market.
For instance, think about starting a blog or posting videos with tips that can benefit your target clientele. Improve your home page and optimize your website content. If you don’t have a website, create one by using a user-friendly platform, such as Wix, or hire a website developer.
Also, encourage your followers to promote your brand. Stimulate awareness in your company and products by encouraging clients to submit user-generated content (UGC), such as testimonials, photos and posts. Contests are a great way to inspire UGC.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube you have so many social media channels at your disposal. And don’t forget about industry-specific social channels. Use them to your advantage. Publish quality posts that people will want to click on. Reply to comments on a consistent basis. And be sure to share and like other posts as well.
5. Never Stop Promoting
As a business owner, your work is never really done. “Set it and forget it” doesn’t apply to you. Remain current in your audience’s minds by continually advertising your company and its products and services. Find novel ways to promote your business within your community and online. Advertise special offers, features, promotions and more via email, on your website and through social channels.
6. Share Your Knowledge
One way to get your name out there and expand a business is to offer your advice to others. Share your subject matter expertise with potential and existing customers. Also, consider becoming a volunteer mentor with a nonprofit business organization, such as SCORE.
As we mentioned, leveraging social media is essential for businesses. Some ways to pass on what you know:
- Create a frequently-asked-questions section on your website
- Comment on web forums
- Provide insights on industry trends
7. Analyze Your Finances
For any business to be successful and maintain that success, budgeting is paramount. Before you can expand a business, you need to have a firm grasp of your company’s finances, including your income and expenses.
It’s important to leave room in your budget for unforeseen expenses, too. When expanding, consider it better to overestimate costs than underestimate. Ultimately, you need to make sure the expansion makes financial sense for you.
8. Talk to Your Customers
The next best thing to having loyal, consistent customers is having people who want to become your customers. Get an idea of how much growth potential is available to you.
- Tap into your customer base and find out what products and services they’d like to see added and at what price point.
- Perform some market research by sending surveys through email or via social.
- You also can advise your employees to survey customers when they have them on the telephone.
9. Focus on Referrals
If you’re looking to expand a business, one no-cost way to help get your business where you want it to be is to actively ask for referrals, which can generate quality leads. Reach out to past clients or businesses you work with. If you aren’t setting time aside to actively cultivate ongoing relationships with your top clients, consider doing so. This way, requesting referral business will be natural.
Ask current customers if they can refer someone and be sure to request they leave reviews online, such as Yelp or Trust pilot, telling others how great your business is. Also, get video testimonials and post them on your website or social media pages.
10. Build a Sales Funnel
The first way to quickly grow your business is by building a sales funnel. If you don’t have a sales funnel, you’re making a monumental mistake. Sales funnels can help to automate your business. It helps you to scale and grow quickly and easily. Sure, there’s some front-end work involved. But, once those processes are in place, it’s smooth sailing from there.
Frasier says that every sales funnel needs to be carefully conceptualized before it’s created. Consider the different funnels first and foremost. Whether it’s a free-plus-shipping offer or a high-ticket coaching funnel, it’s important to build your automated selling machine to quickly scale and grow your business.
11. Utilize a Customer Management System
Manually tracking transactions is hard. No one wants to do that. It gets too cumbersome as the business grows. If you want to scale quickly, use a customer management system. There are plenty to choose from. But, it really depends on your line of work. Of course, cloud-based software like SalesForce is always a viable option.
Quickbooks can help you with the accounting. InfusionSoft can also assist with sales and marketing. There are plenty of CMS systems, most of which integrate with other cloud-based services. Find what works for you and utilize it.
12. Research The Competition
When going to market, and you’re really looking to get your offer to the masses, you need to research the competition. Frasier says he uses two platforms to conduct his research. The first is Similar Web. Both provide competitive intelligence. It’s your chance for x-ray lenses into all landing pages, ad copy, and other stages of the funnel.
This allows you to uncover any advertiser’s online strategy. Find the ads that have been running for the longest and emulate those. That’s the quickest way you scale any business. If it’s proven and it’s working for your competitors, it’s likely it’ll work for you.
13. Invest In Systems
You’re a badass at this whole business ownership thing. We already know that. But if you’re trying to do everything on your own, you might be limiting yourself for potential growth. A business powered by systems is one that can handle the multi-layered demands of expansion.
Have robust systems such as a solid CRM or powerful e-commerce software in place can help you focus on the important parts of growth and expansion. Review your current operations to see what aspects are repetitive or monotonous and make it your goal to automate or outsource as much as possible, so you can remain focused on small business growth.
14. Make Your Blog Shine
It really not surprising that 53 percent of marketers state blog posts is their most important inbound marketing activity. Corey Wainwright, a content marketing expert, writes that good blogging can drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, establish authority in your industry, and achieve long-term results for your business.
When you consider that 81 percent of shoppers conduct research online, good blog posts can bring your business a lot of value over time. Potential customers will naturally find your site once your blog has an established online presence. So make sure the bulk of the content is evergreen. Such posts will only require periodic updating, bringing you better value for your investment.
15. Focus On Scalability
When money, time, and expertise are in short supply, it can be tempting to go with the quick (or cheap) fix, and investing in basic solutions that don’t require a huge financial investment or learning curve can seem wise. But things are not always what they seem.
Yes, that dream solution may be a stretch and have an intimidating learning curve. But ending up in a patchwork maze of multiple inexpensive and inefficient systems that only appear economical will end up costing money in the long run.
16. Always Have a Backup Plan
When you’re a one-person shop, you’re usually able to pivot quickly when things do not go as expected. As your business grows and becomes more complex, these quick adjustments are more difficult. Have a plan in place for emergencies or unforeseen contingencies so that you can deal with the inevitable bumps in the road.
17. Invest In Staff and Culture
Growing beyond solopreneurship is a big step. But if you talk to others who have grown their small business to include employees, contractors or freelancers you’ll soon learn just how vital the right people are in making your expansion dreams a reality. Any significant staff expansion will come with an adjustment period and require devotion and effort from everyone, but establishing a culture and a staff of devoted employees will pay off in the long run.
18. Forecast For Intentional Growth
Sometimes business growth takes you by surprise; sales suddenly increase or an unexpected opportunity falls into your lap. In these cases, you’ll find yourself scrambling in a stressful game of catch-up. But expansion can be carefully considered and planned for.
By taking a slow-and-steady approach and planning ahead for each step along the road, you’ll set your business up for successful proactive growth, instead of a stressful reactive response to an immediate need