If your business is doing well and you are considering ways to expand your business, remember to keep it realistic and achievable and be armed with as much information as possible before you make any decisions.
Here are some of the best options to expand your business, and some tips on what to look out for:
Have a web presence
This is top priority, and yet there are still some businesses out there who have not taken advantage of this opportunity. Every business should have a minimum of a professionally designed and functional website with strong SEO (search engine optimisation). Launching an online shop is worthwhile (if you have that kind of business), or if not, you should find opportunities for customers to engage with you online. If you have a restaurant, for example, put menus online and take online bookings. You can discover so much about your customers by being online. Offer specials, send out a newsletter and track click rates to see what appeals most. This resource is a worthwhile investment.
If you have a product that can be licensed, this is a relatively low risk and affordable option, and you will receive income from outside sales or use of your product. If you have a computer programme, or an app, or even if your name has become well known, you can make extra money by licensing your product.
Aim your product in new directions
Take a close look at your target market and see where you can diversify within it. If your product is targeted at new parents, for example, take it out to Moms’ groups, or pre-natal classes. Widen the parameters of your product availability.
If it is suitable for your business, hit the international market. Find distributors in the countries that your product will probably do well in, and start selling there. Create a demand.
If you have a concept that is doing very well, you can offer franchise opportunities in other parts of the country or city you operate in. With the franchising model, there is a community to fall back on and bounce issues off of. Franchise owners have much more at stake in the business, and will put that much more into it, which will increase the chances of success.
Buy a similar business
If your competitors close down, move on or throw in the towel, you could grow your business by absorbing theirs. If you do, it is important to communicate with and prioritise the new customers and staff, and make it work for all involved.
Opening a second branch is risky, and it might be better to branch out in other ways first before you end up stretching yourself very thin. You need to be as sure as possible of your success before you do it. Branching out onto the internet, as mentioned above, is often a better first step.
Whichever route your expansion takes, you will probably need finance to do it. Our article 9 Top Financing Options For SMEs will give you some ideas for funding your expansion.