Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kick it up a level

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     So you are rocking along in your business. You got it off the ground, and things seem pretty stable. But you worry.

     People are buying your goods and services. Your bottom line is healthy. Still, you worry about tomorrow.

     You know that the marketplace is changing. The younger crowds have different interests. People in middle age are moving on. The older crowds are, well, getting older. The crowds are changing, and you worry.

     Restaurant example: Bob runs a popular eaterie. People stop in for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bob noticed that receipts were level over the past year. Sure, there were ups and downs with the seasons, but that was to be expected. He decided to add music, and he tested it by inviting a local Irish band to entertain on Sunday afternoons. The group played traditional Irish musical instruments, but they had trouble finding a place to practice. Bob's invitation to them solved their problem. They played for three hours--they called it a practice session, diners at the restaurant called it entertainment, and Bob called it a success. The restaurant attracted new people on Sunday afternoon, they came back for meals on other days, and they spread the word. Bob had kicked his operation up to the next level. Now he's considering adding music on other days. 

     Hair salon example: Sue specialized in high end hair cutting and coloring. Her salon attracted a steady clientele, but Sue wanted to expand the operation. She noticed the growing interest in the marketplace for health and wellness products and activities. She took a two-pronged approach. First, she brought in organic and natural hair care products including colorants, and she promoted the lines on social media. Second, she arranged with wellness practitioners to come in on Tuesdays to talk about their specialties, demonstrate activities, and answer questions. Many new people showed up to learn about chiropractic, massage, nutrition, hypnotherapy, and many types of yoga. Sue is building the basis for a full-fledged wellness center that she plans to establish in the future.

     Any business can be kicked up to the next level. Expansions that grow out of current business activities are always open to you. They can carry you step-wise into growth situations. The key is staying on top of the marketplace--where people are currently, and where they are going. 

     Before you try to kick your business up to the next level, always do the critical thinking of your business plan. A plan begins with knowing the marketplace--where it is, and where it is headed.   

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