Small business is the backbone of the global economy. The few firms that do survive the start-up phase have an opportunity to grow in a competitive marketplace, provided they have developed a solid growth strategy. Tailor your growth strategy to your business model, what works well for a tech company, may not apply to a retail business.
Take a look at these five growth strategies and decide on one that resonates with your business model. Investigate the idea further and remember to take the advice of your accountant and lawyer before you execute your strategy.
- License Technologies
Information technology companies that develop software and apps can license their technologies to expand their market footprint. This approach involves finding resellers for your tech and then charging them licensing fees and royalties to sell your product for you. This strategy is cost-effective and means that you do not have to hire your own internal sales force. Instead, you can let your licensees market your product for you and grow your business at their own expense.
- Open Another Physical Location
If you own a store or retail company that trades from a physical location, then opening another branch is a great way to expand your business efforts. Over the start-up phase, you will have developed systems and procedures in your retail business that can be replicated in a new location to produce the same results. The key to a successful second location will be the financial and management team that you build to run the business. Make sure that you do your market research to your location and choose a regional or national demographic that offers the most potential.
- Increase Your Online Activities
Today’s online world has revolutionized communications and the way that we interact with one another as a society. Today, almost everyone owns a smartphone, and they spend large portions of their day scouring forums, social media platforms, and websites. Get your business into the virtual world and hire an online marketing firm to assist you in building an online presence that increases your brand awareness and gets more eyeballs directed to your product and services.
- Join Forces with Others
If a competitor or service provider has departments that could add value to your own business, consider merging or buying out their business and add the strongest components of their business into your company. This strategy works well for businesses that are expanding rapidly and do not have the time available to build new departments and train new people.
- Look to Foreign Markets
Have you tested your products in foreign markets and received good feedback? Arrange a consultation with international business consultants that can help your company penetrate overseas markets and expand your brand’s global footprint.
Write it Down
A plan is not a plan unless it is written down and reviewed frequently. Without clearly articulating your strategy on paper, you will not have a strategy that your business can rely on to grow. Business plans are created when the start-up is founded and then cast aside as the firm grows. Planning will play a critical role in the growth phase, so drag out your business plan, dust it off and get to work with adjusting it to accommodate your new growth strategy.
Do You Need Funding?
If your growth strategy requires funding, then look to alternative microlenders instead of big banks. As a start-up that has survived, you probably have done it by taking on as little debt as possible. Unfortunately, this means that you will have no established credit record either. Banks do not like to give out unsecured loans to small businesses because they view them as credit risk.
Get the business funding you need by arranging a consultation with a microlender to discuss your financial needs. Take your accountant along to the meeting, and include them in your financial strategy. Be prudent with your lending, never accumulate debt that you cannot afford to repay, doing so could ruin your credit record.
The Final Word
The growth phase of your business model will require the same determination and passion that you used to survive the start-up. Stay committed to your goals, your business plan, and developing a team that you can rely on to execute your strategy with confidence and speed.
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