Monday, October 5, 2015

Expanding naturally

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     to help you better manage your small business

     Expanding your business can be easier than you might think. It doesn't have to be a major undertaking. Rather, do more of what you already do.

     Of course, doing more means offering more of the services you provide or selling more of the products you offer. If you are alone, it means hiring someone to help. 

     On the other hand, you might be able to expand into additional markets without adding more facilities or staff. It depends on the business you are in. 

     Example: Linda runs a traditional cafe, serving breakfast and lunch only. By 3 p.m. every day, she closes the door, cleans up and heads home. To expand, Linda began offering breakfasts featuring farm-fresh eggs and gluten-free French toast. Newly added lunches feature fresh greens delivered every day from a local farm, along with cheeses produced locally and free range chicken. The expansion worked. More customers came, and some asked if Linda would cater dinners at their place. Linda took on some catering jobs and gradually expanded in that area as well. 

     Example: Tom used to be a small independent website designer. He expanded his business by offering additional computer services. It happened almost accidentally when a client asked him to set up a new computer system. Tom saw how he could grow the business naturally, as an extension of what he already did. Now, he goes to clients and does most of his work at their site--it includes setting up computer systems, networking the computers, training employees, installing new software, and troubleshooting problems. Tom today has two vans and four technicians on the road helping clients.

     Example:  Therapists, nutritionists, chiropractors and other specialists can have trouble attracting interest and turning that interest into paying clients. Many of these experts are single-person businesses, meaning that they meet one-on-one with clients. This means that the number of clients served is limited by the number of hours in the day. There is no flexibility when the appointment calendar is filled. However, you can expand by adding a junior partner who takes some of the work load. Or you can add new clients by offering free demonstrations and talks at other venues. 

      You might be missing opportunities to expand. Rather than jumping off a financial cliff and establishing a new business venture, look to growing your way into your new and bigger business.      

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