One goal of every business owner is to grow their enterprise. Healthy companies expand their influence, product lines, client base, and just about anything else possible. Yet businesses do experience growing pains too.
When expanding a company, an owner must know how to handle the changes that come with increasing responsibilities. Overcoming the barriers to commercial growth isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. The owner of a growing business can make things easier by learning from others.
Advice for Expanding a Business
There are many ways to expand a business. Most advice falls into four categories:
- Conducting market research and expansion
- Financing business growth
- Making alliances and performing takeovers
- Using new technology
Marketing Plans and Segmentation
Formulating a marketing plan is critical to successful business expansion. A moment of growth for a company requires a large investment of time and money. Having a well thought-out plan for how the enterprise should use its resources helps ensure nothing is wasted or used inefficiently. A marketing plan can also help an organization determine the best direction in which to expand.
Sometimes, the best way to get big is to look small. Finding a particular niche market in which a business can appeal is one way to successfully expand client base. Finding an unserved corner of the market can be done by researching current customers, investigating competitor markets, conducting online research, and contacting the local chamber of commerce.
Finding Money to Fuel Growth
Most expansions cost a great deal of money. New employees may need to be hired, locations bought and built, manufacturing lines created, advertising campaigns launched, etc. Finding the money for all these things is one of the biggest barriers to growth. There are two common ways that small businesses obtain the necessary cash flow: applying for financing with the U.S. Small Business Administration and taking out small business loans.
However, there are ways to grow that don’t require as much money. Diversification of existing products or services can expand a business’ clientele without costing as much as other forms of expansion. Diversification can happen in different ways, such as offering new products or services that complement the original ones, importing or exporting goods, and providing consultations.
Using the Competition
Competition isn’t always a hindrance in the business world. There are ways a company can use competitors to fuel growth. The most aggressive way is to merge with or acquire them. Taking over a business that offers the same (or similar) products or services not only removes competition from the market, but also provides the company with increased resources.
A less aggressive approach is to align with competitors. Instead of buying a company that makes a related product, enter into an agreement that benefits both enterprises. For example, the manufacturer of a product collaborates with a company that sells its product type to form part of the supply chain.
Technology Is Good
New technologies can help businesses thrive in a variety of ways. Innovations may speed up production times, increase marketing effectiveness, solve problems affecting customers, or perform many other helpful day-to-day tasks. Staying current on the best technologies is necessary for staying competitive and providing slow growth.
Technology is also useful when for expanding a business’ network or client base. Social networking sites allow enterprises to connect with customers and professionals alike, providing ample opportunities for different kinds of growth. Developing a strategic online marketing plan can also help you find new web leads and expand into a digital atmosphere.
An enterprise must constantly grow and stay flexible to new innovations if it hopes to thrive. Expansion is not always easy, but if business owners learn from the advice given here, they may find that the process is easier.