Starting a business, no matter how big or small, takes a lot of time and research. You probably read a dozen books, spent a collective 120 hours online, and talked to at least 20 close friends and relatives. Then you spent a good portion, if not all, of your life savings and immeasurable time and sweat getting your business up and running. And now it’s paying off. So what’s next?
For those of you who lived through the startup process and are finding success, first of all, congratulations! Second of all, what’s next? Time to grow? Offer new products? In this post for National Small Business Week, we take a look at tips and advice for expanding your small business.
Talk to your customers.
No one knows the ins and outs of your business like you do. However, no one knows how well your business is truly perceived by the community and other consumers quite like your regular customers do. See what they think. Talk them while they’re in store and go online and see what they’re really saying. But be prepared for a few things you might not want to hear. If you’re thinking about growing, however, constructive criticism can ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
Review your marketing strategy.
If you are only looking to increase revenue before you make any growth or expansion plans, take a look at building a better marketing plan. There is nothing greater than word of mouth, but you must do your part. Are you routinely active on social media? Facebook and Twitter are staples. But dependent upon your type of business, Instagram and Pinterest might be good additions. And a Yelp profile is a must. Although most features on Yelp are free, talk to one of their sales reps (every market has a team) about additional options that fit within your budget. This helps your visibility and search optimization. The same thing goes for Facebook, boosting a post or paying for an ad, if only $20-$50, goes a long way.
Don’t be afraid to partner with other businesses for cross-promotions as well. A well-planned alliance with another brand can pay off quickly. For example, if you’re running a hair and nail salon, why not work with a local gym or spa to create a “total transformation package” or discount options for using both facilities within the same week or moth? Partnerships can go a long way without costing you a substantial amount of resources.
Explore financing options.
In our last post we took a look at tips and tricks for getting a small business loan to help get started. But now that you’re thinking about expanding, it might be time to review your loan options, should you not have sufficient funds on hand. You might need a new office space, to take over the store next door, and/or to hire new staff. If your regular financial institute isn’t an option, apply for financing assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. They are committed to helping small businesses be successful and offer numerous programs for a wide variety needs.
Open another location.
Your marketing is on point, you’ve got your bank on board for financing, and your customers are coming from miles away. Clearly what you have is what they want. Don’t let someone else move in across town with a similar concept. Don’t be afraid to open another location. The worst thing a business of any size can do is not capitalize on its market, especially in a growing community.
Look at new technology.
Not staying on top of current technologies can hurt your business or potential expansion plans. Upgrading, from your POS and computers to your phone system, improves many areas: productivity, time management, efficiencies, and more. Not to mention cost! This is an area in which Mobex can definitely help. From VolP options and call center improvements to a cordless office, we have customized telecommunications solutions for businesses of all sizes, including those that are planning on expanding.