For those of you who have survived startup and built successful businesses, you may be wondering how to take the next step and grow your business beyond its curren.There are numerous possibilities, 10 of which we’ll outline here. Choosing the proper one (or ones) for your business will depend on the type of business you own, your available resources, and how much money, time and sweat equity you’re willing to invest all over again. If you’re ready to grow, we’re ready to help.
1. Open another location
This might not be your best choice for business expansion, but it’s listed first here because that’s what often comes to mind first for so many entrepreneurs considering expansion. “Physical expansion isn’t always the best growth answer without careful research, planning and number-planning,” says small-business speaker, writer and consultant Frances McGuckin
2. Offer your business as a franchise or business opportunity.
“When people have a vested interest in their work, they enjoy it more, bring more to the table and are more successful overall. Franchising is a perfect system to accomplish those goals.”
3. License your product.
This can be an effective, low-cost growth medium, particularly if you have a service product or branded product, notes Larry Bennett, director of the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship at Johnson & Wales University.“You can receive upfront monies and royalties from the continued sales or use of your software, name brand, etc.-if it’s successful,”
4. Form an alliance.
Aligning yourself with a similar type of business can be a powerful way to expand quickly. “You need to align with other businesses that already have lists of prospective customers. It’s the fastest way to success.”
Diversifying is an excellent growth strategy, as it allows you to have multiple streams of income that can often fill seasonal voids and, of course, increase sales and profit margins,” says McGuckin, who diversified from an accounting, tax and consulting business to speaking, writing and publishing.
6. Target other markets.
“If your consumer market ranges from teenagers to college students, think about where these people spend most of their time,” says McGuckin. “Could you introduce your business to schools, clubs or colleges? You could offer discounts to special-interest clubs or donate part of [your profits] to schools and associations.”
7. Win a government contract.
“The best way for a small business to grow is to have the federal government as a customer,” wrote Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, ranking Democratic member of the House Small Business Committee, in August 2003. (Click here to read that article.)
8. Merge with or acquire another business.
Fasciano, notes four keys to their success:
- Customer retention.
- Staff retention.
- Melding technologies.
9. Expand globally.
You don’t need to acquire another business to expand globally. You just need to prime your offering for an international market the way FatWire was primed following the integration of its technologies with divine’s.You’ll also need a foreign distributor who’ll carry an inventory of your product and resell it in their domestic markets. You can locate foreign distributors by scouring your city or state for a foreign company with a U.S. representative.
10. Expand to the Internet.
“Bill Gates said that by the end of 2002, there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all.Landing your Web site in search engine results is key-more than 80 percent of traffic comes via search engines, according to Falkow. “As there are now more than 4 billion Web pages and traffic on the Internet doubles every 100 days, making your Web site visible is vital,” she says. “You need every weapon you can get.”