Expanding your small business can be challenging but is so often necessary in order to thrive rather than merely survive. The following strategies have been proven time and time again.

Focus on your existing market

Although you might think you should concentrate on finding new customers, you may find it is more cost effective and easier to increase sales to your existing customers and keep them loyal to you rather than finding new ones.

Ask your customers for referrals

To help drive your business expansion, you could ask existing customers who are satisfied with your service if they know other people who might be interested in what you have to offer. This may be an obvious approach to expanding your business, but you should not assume that customers will automatically recommend you to others unless you ask them!

Innovation

Finding new ways of using your services or products is a good way of attracting new customers and encouraging your existing customers to buy more.

Extend your reach

Making the services or products you offer available to more customers can help to grow your business. This can be achieved by opening branches in new locations. These can be physical or virtual so opening an online store could greatly increase your market share. Advertising, possibly via social media, is another great way of extending the reach of your business.

Use trade shows

People who already have an interest in the type of service or product that you offer will attend trade shows. If you select the right show, this can help with business networking and is an excellent way of finding new partners and customers.

Understand your position

Conquering a niche market with an in-depth understanding of the customers who need the service or goods you provide, is a proven strategy. Provided that you meet the needs of your customers, you will retain their loyalty and patronage.

Watch your costs

Expanding a small business affects the bottom line so it is important to ensure you keep costs to a minimum. Consider liquidating any products or services that are losing money and focusing solely on lucrative services and products.

Diversify

You will already have a good knowledge as to what your existing customers need or want, so focusing on related needs is an effective way of growing your business. For example, a company renting mountain bikes might expand into renting snowshoes and skis in the winter months or an artist might offer additional products and services such as frames and framing in order to diversify.

Franchising

If your business is successful you can consider developing a system to ensure that others could achieve the same. Franchising can be a great way of growing a small business.

International markets

Expanding your business to international markets can boost your bottom line significantly, so if you have the time and the commitment, this can be a very rewarding route but do tread carefully, test the market and control costs.

Simply choose one or two of the suggestions above that fit best with your business and start planning for business expansion today!