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As a small business owner, do you often find yourself thinking about the next step? Or do you wonder about how to improve your brand and boost your bottom line? Business growth, especially evolving with trends (not against them), is essential for your long-term success. If you are feeling a little stumped about bringing your business to the next level, cast your thinking net a little wider.
In their “Ideas for Growing Your Business” blog, the U.S. Small Business Administration proposes a few key areas for strengthening your organization, summarized and generalized below.
Opening the doors to a new location
Based on your current operations, do you feel confident enough to set the foundation for a new physical space? If your business is strong enough to establish new roots, this may be a very obvious way to grow your business and sales.
Consider the franchise option
If you have a solid business framework with a clear profitable trend line, it may make sense to franchise your business. While you won’t need to manage the new location, you may be able to discover an untapped revenue stream.
License your product
If you have a successful brand or service product, you may have the ability to license your product to maximize sales and minimize risk without too much cost investment. If this is the route for you, the first step is researching similar products/services to find the right licensing partner.
If you are looking to expand quickly and effectively, it may make sense to form an alliance with a similar type of business. Do your homework on the organizations first. You won’t get the right match if you rush into it.
This is important. How can you achieve several sources of income to boost your profit or fill gaps in your company? Diversification is the answer. Here are a few ways to accomplish this task:
· Offer complementary products and/or services
· Teach courses (i.e. adult education)
· Import or export products
· Become a paid (and recognizable) expert, columnist, or speaker
Target different markets
Even if your current market is bringing about the results that you want are there other markets that you can also succeed in? Think creatively about this one. There are so many markets and customers that would love your products and services who may not even know your name yet!
Win a government contract
Get in touch with your local SBA and Small Business Development Center to help you understand the types of contracts available to you. Winning business through the government is a great way to grow your business if it’s applicable to your industry.
Acquire or merge with a like-minded business
If you’ve had your eye on a company with complementary products and services to yours, would it benefit you to join together into one organization, or even buy out the company? This is a big move so make sure it’s right for your company before you proceed too far down the road.
While this may be too far a reach for most small businesses, some may want to explore the possibility of finding a foreign distributor that can carry the product and resell it in their domestic markets. Start looking in your city (or state) for foreign companies with a U.S. representative to get started.
Enhance your online presence
This relates to almost every small business – increase your chance for business success the more that you grow your online visibility. Through effective planning and smart SEO, you need to ensure that your business is the top search engine result for your space. Make sure your website is designed to get you to that goal.
Above all, the best way to be seen by the right people at the right time is to get out there! Make sure all your social media channels are top-notch and exceed the outreach that your competitors are doing. Know your influencers (and engage in public dialogue with them through Twitter), talk to your customers daily, write blogs that are worth being forwarded, and create videos that are impossible not to share. This will forever make your business grow and flourish in ways you might not even have imagined are possible. But, with the right amount of effort, you’ll get there faster than you think!
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