Monday, August 31, 2015

Expand from within

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business

     To expand a small business, you have a choice. You can let the business rock along adding clients and customers and gradually grow. Or you can look to take off in a direction that builds on what you already do.

     Every business has opportunities to grow. Let the marketplace show you the way. 

     Example: Kristin is a massage therapist. She has an established office and regular clients. She uses social media to grow her client base. One of her postings on Facebook brought in a question that changed the direction of her business. Someone asked if Kristin offered acupuncture to help with problems of stress. She did not, but it spurred her to begin expanding in another area to address wellness issues. Today, Kristin has a staff acupuncturist. It has worked out well--expanding the business into the beginnings of a well-rounded wellness center. 

     Example: Judy is a candy maker who owns a small sweet shop. She loves making peppermint pillows, caramel twists and other goodies. When several customers asked why she had no chocolate, it caused her to consider expanding. First, Judy brought in lines of chocolates made at a small chocolate shop in a neighboring town. This caused a noticeable bump in sales. Then it was decision time. Judy could learn to make chocolates herself at her place, or she could continue the arrangement with the chocolate shop, or she could exploit the possibility of forming a partnership with the owner of the chocolate shop. She chose the later. Today, the expanded operation offers candies and chocolates at both shops, and, additionally, fill orders and ships to buyers far and near. 

     Example: Bill is an artist who paints landscapes. His paintings sell for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars, and he exhibits in several galleries. He also attends higher end shows. At one of these shows, he overheard someone complain that there were no smaller, less expensive paintings that could serve as gifts. Bill began experimenting--quickly painting small canvases, signing and framing them, and offering these at lower prices. He maintained quality and vision, and he found that he could sell many of these while waiting to sell just one of his landscapes. By listening to, and answering, the marketplace, Bill is now in a better financial place. 

     Expansion possibilities crop up all the time in small business. Some are good. Others, not so much.

     Keep your ear to the ground. The marketplace is always changing, and you can spot opportunities all the time. You'll probably discard most of these, but now and then, a jewel can be spotted.

     Never try to chase every opportunity that you spot. That causes you to run around in circles, not getting much done. When you do find a good opportunity, however, check out the possibilities--and expand.