Your business is doing okay. But if okay was enough, you wouldn’t have started your own business. In today’s competitive environment, settling for okay means you’re likely to get left behind while other businesses move ahead. So, how do you keep your small business growing? The answer won’t be the same for every business, but knowing the options can help you decide which is best for you. Here are four approaches to growing your business that will help turn an okay business into a thriving one.
- Concentrate on What You Know – Focus on what you know about your customers and offer them new products or services. Your current customers rely on your business to help them solve a problem or to save time and money. So build on that trust by offering them something more. For example, a gift store might offer a personalized service that reminds customers of a friend’s upcoming birthday and offers a gift suggestion based on some new merchandise in the store. Offering this convenience can increase sales from existing customers and attract new ones too.
- Become Your Own Supplier – Where do you get the supplies you need today to make your product or run your business? Rather than relying on others, consider getting or making your own supplies. You’ll reduce your expenses and you’ll have greater control over the quality you’re getting. For example, a restaurant that gets its produce from a food vendor might source its own fruit and vegetables at local farmers’ markets. Or the restaurant could grow its own or establish a relationship with a local grower to produce the inventory it will need.
- If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em – With this approach, you achieve growth by joining forces with a competitor. Big business uses this approach frequently, as seen currently in the airline industry. But it’s not unheard of for small businesses to use it too. In some cases, the two businesses merge into one company, but in others, they work together for a specific reason. For example, two computer repair shops might offer their services to a large company. Since neither has the staff to handle it on their own, they may partner for the purpose of this customer and realize more sales as a result.
- Put Some Eggs in Another Basket – Diversify your income stream by branching out into another business. SBA.gov reports that a few of the most common ways to diversify include selling a complementary product or service (for example, a lawn service that offers snow removal), teaching adult education or other types of classes related to your industry, importing or exporting your products or another company’s and becoming a paid speaker or columnist. Securing multiple sources of income can help to increase sales and profit margins.
The strategy you take may vary based on a number of factors that include funding, the local economy and your long-term business goals. For more ideas, see “Ideas for Growing Your Business” on SBA.gov.