Friday, July 11, 2014

Expand by teaching

     Free daily tips, information and advice for people in small business
     from my personal experience founding and running businesses of my own
     and helping thousands of other business people with their problems.

     People in small business are experts. Yes, they run a business, but they are experts in the products and services they sell.

     Expansion opportunities in small business are often overlooked. Consider teaching others what you know.

     Example: Jenna is a professionally-trained chef who opened a small upscale cafe. While she did everything in the kitchen, her first love was designing and making spectacular cakes. These were colorful and edible sculptures. Her cakes attracted much attention, and they were soon to be found in other restaurants, at wedding receptions, and local gala events. People wanted to know how she made the New York skyline out of cake, and other chefs wanted training in her techniques. This caused her to face alternatives--should she continue as is, or should she close the cafe and just make cakes, or should she keep the cafe and add teaching sessions? She set up teaching sessions, from simple to complex, and is headed down the road to transitioning entirely to teaching cake sculpture. 

     Example: Jon owns and operates a garden center. He has expanded his business considerably by offering "learning sessions" to customers. Some are free, others bring in revenue--but all these sessions bring in referrals. Some classes teach homeowners how to take care of houseplants, or how to select and grow plants outside, or how to control pests in the garden. Other sessions show how to select and lay pavers, or how to build and take care of small fish ponds, or how to build fences, trellises and gates. These sessions bring new customers to the garden center and encourage existing customers to return. And the teaching sessions continually help spread the word about Jon's garden center. 

     Example: Bill has many years experience running his stained glass studio. He creates spectacular windows for churches, corporations, offices and homes. He also repairs and restores antique stained glass using traditional techniques. He began offering instruction sessions for beginners and advanced students in group and one-on-one sessions. These bring in a continuing stream of revenue, and the students spread the word far and near. 

     Offering to teach others what you know can be a good way to add to your bottom line. And there are other rewards--like the personal satisfaction that comes from passing on what you know to others. It's the reason I write this blog for you. 

     All my life I've been fascinated with the business model, the mechanisms that make business work, founding and growing small businesses. Over the years, I have helped thousands of small businesses with the problems of operating and expanding small businesses. Send me your questions for quick, free answers--email and put BLOG in subject line so I don't delete. Your privacy is always respected--don't give me your name or location, just an email address so I can respond.    

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