Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Expanding your business

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that in several small operations.

     If sales are down in your business, you look for answers. It might be the economy in general. It might be the weather or the seasonal changes. It might be you need a new sales person.

     Or it might be that you are in the wrong business. Not wrong, but maybe in the wrong segment of the business. 

     It might be time to expand into another area of the on-going business. Begin to offer additional services or product lines.

     Example: A small independent web designer expands his business considerably by offering on-site services to customers. Services at their site, not his. Previously, he did web design for other small businesses. His new customers are larger--15 to 50 employees. Now he helps them set up networks, troubleshoots systems, offers maintenance contracts, and holds training sessions. He just bought a new car.

     This shows how you might be missing opportunities to do more for more people. Your customers now have needs that are related to what you do. Right now they are calling other businesses to satisfy those needs. Think through your own talents and experience, looking for ways to expand your operation.

     Service businesses are almost always easy to expand. You might have already tried several approaches. Keep trying. Keep looking. And remember--what you tried and discarded in the past might just fill the bill tomorrow (it can take the world a while to catch up with you).

     Example: A struggling frame shop expands by offering local artists a place to show their works--paintings, photographs, sculptures. It's the backdoor approach to establishing a gallery or high end gift shop. But the change does not stop there. The frame shop owner now reaches out to banks and large companies in the area, offering to rent artworks for display in their offices, hallways, lobbies, etc. This is not easy to set up (think insurance, security, deliveries), but it can all work together. And it expands considerably the reputation of the frame shop.

     Build on what you have when thinking of expanding. Keep the core, and look for ways to enlarge it. A way is always there to nudge your operation in one direction or another, expanding your business in the process.

     Questions? I retired when I turned 75. You can email me at AlWarr16@gmail.com with your questions. Put BLOG in the subject line so I don't delete. Quick answers from my 40+ years experience founding and growing small businesses. Your privacy is always respected. 

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