Once you’ve achieved a level of success within your small business and feel prepared to open yourself to the advantages—and challenges—of expanding your brand, you will be faced with many factors to consider. There are many different forms of expansion and not all solutions will fit your personal small business model. Instead, a variety of factors will determine the best move for you to grow your company. In this article, we’ll discuss several different ways to expand your business and how they could be the right (or wrong) fit for you.
If you’re considering expansion, you’ve likely already built up a vast base of clientele. This can present the potential for you to create or further develop already-existing programs to suit the more specialized needs of both present and incoming customers. While perhaps not practical from an initial marketing standpoint, such deals in an established business can pay off in increased customer loyalty and satisfaction when you can afford to dedicate time and resources to curate unique rewards, referral, and membership programs.
The best way to figure out what deals would be most successful for your business is through implementing a digital or physical suggestion box to hear direct feedback on what your customer’s interests are, and what kinds of services they would be willing to pay for.
Establishing a loyalty program for existing customers can also be an excellent way to retain their allegiance to your business. For instance, a hair salon might want to offer a discount every fourth haircut at their store, and a coffee shop could offer a free small beverage for every 15 purchased. For a low monthly subscription fee, you can even utilize rewards apps such as Perkville and FiveStars, which link to your sales system and allow you to format your own unique loyalty program that syncs seamlessly with your daily routines.
As a small business owner, you carry a great weight of responsibility on your shoulders and are constantly navigating a wide variety of tasks. Hiring new staff members can help ease this stress and allow you to direct your focus on more critical details. However, while an excellent way to delegate tasks and increase productivity, teaching new hires the ins and outs of your business necessitates a transition process that will hinder your overall productivity for a period of time. Regardless, hiring is a costly move—salary and benefit-wise—so it’s crucial to carefully weigh your options before embarking on the search.
If you’re considering expanding your team, begin to keep a running tally of tasks and roles that a new employee could potentially assume when hired. See if you can first find ways to strategically manage or outsource these tasks yourself, which is often a more cost-effective solution. Once you’ve decided that hiring is the right move for you to make, make sure that you are picking the right person for the job, not just in terms of skillset, but also in disposition. At a small company, the attitude and work ethic of one individual can shape the atmosphere of the overall office environment.
This is often the first thing people think of when they hear the words ‘business expansion,’ and it is the riskiest. Expanding via brick and mortar locations requires an abundance of thought and careful planning—you have to account for competition, be hyperaware of your budget, and know the intrinsic workings of your business model. Not only do you need to secure your finances and research both street and foot traffic patterns to ensure the success of your second location, but staffing is of paramount consideration as well. You won’t be able to be present in both locations at the same time, so having a trustworthy, dedicated staff is crucial.
Not all business formats will succeed in a physical expansion. Some industries are more easily duplicated than others. For instance, a carpeting shop or an auto repair shop. Other practices, such as personalized consulting services—which rely on the expertise of one individual—may not be as practical in such a format. Likewise, if you are someone who needs to be hands-on with every task, this move may not be the right one for you.
If you do open a new location, be sure to check out our free eBook on Local SEO.
Due to the ever-fluctuating nature of business, being small business-savvy necessitates being able to adapt—and perhaps more importantly, anticipate—changes in your market. If you’re considering expansion, you’ve likely been working in your field for some time, which means that you understand its niche markets like no one else. It’s a smart move to expand beyond your target audience and more firmly secure your financial success.
Think about what kinds of demographics you’d like to target and how they could benefit from your products and services, beginning to tailor your marketing strategy to suit these molds. This can manifest through:
Depending on your market, you can even begin to expand your repertoire of products and services and offer consultations or sell complementary products.
You can also generate an audience of potential customers through involvement in industry conferences and events, sharing advice through an industry-specific column, or offering education programs, all viable as additional sources of revenue diversification.
To build connections and expand your base clientele, think about partnering with another local business to issue special deals and membership perks that are tailored to a similar target customer. For example, if you own a fitness studio, you might want to partner with a nearby smoothie shop to create a unique package for the health-minded consumer. This could entail a sales promotion of a half-priced smoothie after a discounted workout class, or a package of 20 classes and 20 smoothies, all for a discounted rate.
Whether or not your expansion entails a baby step or a large one, a strategically-planned move can do wonders for your business. While no method ensures overnight results, the right strategy and mindset will advance your company and prepare you for further imminent growth. Best of luck!