Friday, October 23, 2015

Easy business expansions

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     Expanding and growing your small business is not difficult. In fact, it can be downright easy--when you think about it. You build out what you already do, or you make the leap into a new direction.

     Service businesses can be very easy to expand. A nutritionist, for example, can offer free cooking demonstrations to be held at meetings of various organizations. Therapists can partner with chiropractors to offer services to a non-competing group. Lawyers can expand into specialty markets--elder law and worker's comp cases are two areas. 

     Hard goods businesses can also be easy to expand. A bakery, for example, can begin offering goodies on social media and ship out to new customers far and near. Health food stores can add lines of fresh, organic pet foods to the product lines already being sold to humans. 

     Build on what you already offer when you think about expanding. Watch the marketplace for ideas, and then nudge your operation in a new direction. Some things work. Others, not so much.

     Example: Robert is a small independent website designer. He began in a small shop and reached out to potential customers. He expands his business by offering onsite services to small businesses in his area. He helps his clients--at their sites--to buy and install new equipment, network their systems, troubleshoot problems. He is taking it to the next level by offering training sessions.

     Example: June operates a small struggling frame shop. She expanded her business by offering local artists an opportunity to hang their works in her frame shop. She holds monthly openings, or meet-the-artist sessions, which are attracting a great deal of attention--especially since she began posting on social media. She is now looking for fiber artists and sculptors to expand further, and her framing operation now includes shadowbox types of frames to accommodate three dimensional art works.   

     When looking for ways to expand, remember your present clients and customers. They, too, might be heading in different directions. Or they might need a word from you to lead them into serving new markets of their own. Either way, they can represent valid business expansions for you to exploit.

     The marketplace is a moving target. When you take aim at one direction, you might hit or you might miss. But you keep trying. Never give up. 

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