There comes a point in every small business’s life when it’s time to “level up”. This is an exciting challenge as the potential for reward from expansion is great, but so are the risks. If you’ve reached the point in your small business where you have too much demand and not enough supply or find yourself plateaued and stagnant, then it’s time to take the next step and move your business into the next level of profitability. Here are some tips on how to accomplish this jump without overextending your current resources:
Finding A New Audience
Most small businesses start by focusing on a small highly relevant target audience group to sell their product to. This is great when you first start off as these are the loyal and rabid consumers that your product or service is the most relevant and targeted to. However, in order to expand your business, you need to think outside of this core group of people and find new ways to reach a larger yet similar and bigger audience in order to increase profitability. Don’t lose sight of your brand’s core values as you certainly don’t want to alienate your loyal core group of customers, but with a little tweaking and repositioning, you can use marketing techniques to make your brand appeal to a new audience of people who could be highly profitable.
Take the time to look at your business from the inside out. Before expanding, it’s important to make sure that you have a solid foundation and infrastructure that can support this expansion. This means having solid marketing materials, an established online presence, an established employee handbook, and efficient equipment such as a payment processing system and invoicing or accounting programs. Without having these basic infrastructure items in place before expanding, you’ll be patching up these holes as your business grows which can lead to real problems further down the line.
Focus on Customer Service
As you focus on growing and expanding your business, don’t forget to continue to pay attention to your core customer base. Nurturing and enriching these customers, who are already buying and loving your brand is one of the most effective ways to grow a business. Regular customers mean regular income, and they also can be turned into some of your best marketing assets by spreading the word about your brand through word of mouth. If you are able to stimulate your core base through great customer service to the point that they are excited to talk about you with their friends, this has more value than any well-thought out advertising campaign.
Learn to Delegate
When you first started your small business, it was much easier to do everything yourself with just one partner or some interns or small number of employees. However, as your business grows, it’s going to become harder and harder for you to do everything. No one is Superman or Wonder Woman. To be more effective, learn to delegate tasks to your staff. This also means investing in training your employees so that they can take over these tasks well enough that you trust the quality level of the outcome. Delegating doesn’t help if you then have to go back and revise and redo everything yourself.
Continue To Learn
Regardless of how successful your business is, there are always going to be things that you don’t understand or skills that you don’t have the time to master. Continuing to learn about your competitive landscape and the new options and technologies available to you can make the difference between a thought leader and a business that gets left behind. Make the time to keep up to date about the forward movement and trends in your industry. This can be as simple as signing up for an RSS feed from a good news source.When you aren’t able or don’t have the time to learn the new tricks of a specific technology, don’t be afraid to admit it – again this goes back to delegating. If it’s important enough and you are too busy, either delegate some of your tasks to a trusted employee to free up your schedule to learn, or make your employee learn and then teach you. A business is a team, and each member has its own strengths. As such each member of your business team should be staying on top of the latest news for your industry and then sharing what they’ve learned with everyone else so that you can all move forward together.