Starting a new business is an exciting venture, and one that keeps you incredibly busy. But at some point you can reach a time where you feel that you should be going further than you are. Your company is now running smoothly, with everything in place to make it a fully formed small business. However, if you want to continue making profits, you need to start focusing on growing your business, and not just running it as it is. There are lots of ways to expand your business, from opening a new location to diversifying your products or services. Obviously you can’t do everything at once, so you need to choose which method of growth is right for you. If you don’t know what your next step should be, have a look at some of these types of expansion to work out where to go now.
Use a Consultant
When you were first starting up, you probably did a lot of research and might have hired a consultant to help you. If you need help expanding your company, you can try using a consultant to guide you through the process and help you decide the best ways of growing your business. Have a look at todays growth on Linkedin to get an idea of the services that this type of consultant can provide. Some can assist you in growing an online business while others specialize in expanding retail or other physical company models.
License Your Product
Licensing your product can be an easy and cost-effective way of expanding your business. If you’re successful in licensing a branded or service product, you can receive money and royalties from its continued sale or use. If you think licensing your product might be an option for you, research potential partners that provide similar products to yours. Make sure you hire an experienced intellectual property attorney to protect you.
Diversify Your Product or Service
One of the most common expansion methods for small business owners is diversifying. If you have one or several successful products or services, you can grow your company by offering complementary ones alongside them. However, diversifying doesn’t have to mean adding new things to your product line. You can also cash in on your expertise, offering classes or choosing to become a speaker or columnist on your chosen subject. You can make more money from your existing products too, by exporting them or importing others. Before exporting, make sure you check that there’s a market for your business in your chosen country.
Open a New Location
If you’re a company whose business relies on local trade and traffic, opening a new place could be just the thing to help you expand. Many firms can conduct most of their company online. But if you have a store or offices where it’s important that you can meet clients in person, you’ll reach more people by having several locations. Physical expansion isn’t for everyone, but it can be useful if you want to increase your presence on the market. Keep in mind that it isn’t a cheap option, and you’ll need to consider where you’ll obtain financing. You need to do some thorough research about whether a new location would be profitable and have a separate business plan for the premises.
Franchising and Business Opportunities
An alternative to opening a new location is offering your business as a franchise or business opportunity. This option allows for other people to take your business concept into new areas, without you having to manage an entirely new location independently. People who buy into the enterprise will have a passion for it, and for making profit. You could expand much faster by franchising your business than by opening new locations on your own. There are lots of ways to access support if you want to franchise your business. These include the International Franchise Association and franchise attorneys.
Start or Acquire a New Business
If you’re looking to diversify not just your products, but the industry you trade it, you could consider starting or acquiring another company. You might choose to hold a very diverse portfolio of enterprises, in order to decrease your chances of a market downturn affecting your companies. However, many entrepreneurs decide to create firms that offer complementary services, so that one business feeds into the next. As well as starting a new company from scratch, you can also buy one or merge an existing company with another. Many people are looking to sell their fully-formed business, whether they’re highly profitable or have gone bankrupt and need to be restored.
Get On the Internet – or Off It
Being on the internet is vital for many businesses if they want to reach as much of their target market as possible. If you aren’t already selling your products or services online, it’s time to think about doing so. Conversely, however, if you sell online you might want to think about selling offline too. Many online businesses already do some offline marketing, but it could benefit you to, for example, set up a physical shop. Some online stores choose to use pop-ups to create a more physical presence in different locations, without the expense of establishing a permanent shop.
Obtain a Government Contract or Funding
If you want your business to get noticed, get hold of a government contract. Getting a contract from the government gives your firm an air of respectability, not to mention a lot of money. The government buys and sells a lot of goods, and is always looking to offer contracts. Winning a contract can be hard work, but once you’ve done so you could improve your business prospects. Look for government funding too, which could give you the money to keep expanding when you need to find a way to finance a new venture.
There are many different ways you can expand and grow your enterprise. It’s up to you to work out which method is best suited to your business model, and which will be most successful.
Featured image credit: ShutterStock