Monday, August 24, 2015

Expanding can be easy

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     to help you better manage your small business.

     Expanding your small business might be easier than you think. The key is to look inside your operation and how a change extends you into the market you want to serve.

     To take a big expansion step takes detailed planning and big time funding. Expanding by taking smaller, incremental steps is easier.

     Example: Don runs a computer services company. He uses his computer expertise to help other small businesses access and better utilize the social media tools that are readily available but little understood by his clients. To reach out and drive more clients to his services, Don decided that he would offer a series of educational workshops, free and open to the public. He set up sessions, offered them through local chambers of commerce and other business organizations. He also posted them on social media, including Facebook and LinkedIn. The sessions were well-attended, and he encouraged people in small businesses to bring their problems and questions. This simple initiative has resulted in many new clients who signed up for Don's services. 

     Example: Dawn is a certified therapist specializing in helping clients get through their stress, grief and related issues. She noticed that many of her clients had gone through rehab programs to address their drug and alcohol problems. Large numbers of them were still coping with their old habits. Dawn extended her practice, helping rehab "graduates" cope with their on-going problems. They were people in a well-defined market and they needed specific help. She began developing several programs aimed at post-rehab clients. She is building on work she already does, but this initiative is expanding her business in an entirely new direction. 

     Example: Fred runs an interior decorating operation. He helps residential and commercial clients define work areas, tackle window problems and dressings, reorganize seating, and decorate entire areas. When a realtor friend asked Fred to organize and stage a residence to better attract buyers, Fred spotted an easy expansion. He now offers staging services to several realtors in his area--staging homes for resale. It was an easy expansion of services he already offered. To expand this new area of his business, Fred now offers basic "how-to" staging expertise online. Realtors afar now direct their agents to enroll in Fred's online webinars.

     Sometimes, it only takes a change in attitude to attract new clients in a completely new way. Other times, a new market can develop in an area your already serve.

     Your business addresses a moving target. Markets change, technology changes everything, people change. Heck, even the weather changes. 

     Be alert to who you serve and how. Opportunities are everywhere. Discard the negative ones, but embrace those that make sense. 

     Some opportunities can look good at first glance, but they might lead you in a direction you don't want to go. Before embracing changes, make sure you are heading in the direction you want.