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3 Fundamental Ways to Grow Your Small Business

So your business selling waterproof mermaid fins has recently exploded. Orders from across the globe are picking up, and you’re thinking about what it will take to expand your business. You have a gut-wrenching decision to make--expand, or not to expand.

Let’s talk about why you should consider expansion and three specific ways you can grow your business.

Why expand?

The best time to expand is today.

You don’t need to wait for a big breakthrough. What comes to your mind when you think of Walmart, HP, and Walgreens? You have probably heard of each of these giant companies (unless you’re living under a rock). They all share one unique trait--it took years for them to achieve success.

Walmart began in 1945 with just one store. HP began when two friends decided they wanted to build things in 1937. Walgreens began in 1901 and stumbled along until finally settling on the corner drugstore model.

What’s the point? Success is often years in the making! Loads of little advancements, intense focus on a simple concept, and ordinary people with extraordinary vision lead to success over time. Here are just a few of the reasons you should expand your business:
  • To reach a wider audience
  • To expand your core values
  • To increase cash flow, which helps you create new products and reach more people
  • To achieve personal growth
  • To make a difference in the lives of the people you reach
So how do you actually go about expanding your business? Consider these three simple steps:

1. Expand your products/services

The first and most basic way to grow any business is to look for ways to expand your product/service. This may seem simple enough, but how do you do this without losing focus?

Picture in your mind a ski rental company. The owners decide after long hours of careful thought to start selling bikes at their shop. Will this work? There is a small possibility it could. But more likely than not, customers would be confused and start to wonder why a ski rental company needs to sell bikes in the first place.

Bestselling author of Good to Great Jim Collins identifies three circles to focus on when seeking to expand: what can you be the best in the world at, what drives your economic engine, and what are you deeply passionate about.

Unless your expansion involves all three circles, you are headed in the wrong direction! You may experience some short-term success but at the expense of long-term gains derived from intense focus.

Let’s go back to the example of a ski rental company. Instead of selling bikes, they could sell lift tickets and provide a shuttle service. Notice the focus on what they can be best at, what will add value, and what they are already passionate about.

As a writer you can expand your services by offering e-courses, selling Ebooks, and writing articles for other companies to name a few.

2. Expand your target market

Another great way to grow your small business is to expand your reach. Again, always be careful to target the right people. Think of the ways your customer shops. How do they hear about your product? Where do they go to purchase goods and services? This will be different for every business owner.

Listed below are just a few of the ways you can expand your reach to target a great customer base:
Focus on a new customer segment that could be interested in your product
  • Open a different sales channel
  • Upgrade your store location
  • Open your second store
  • License a product
  • Build a franchise

3. Compete for a greater percentage of the market

The third way you can grow your small business is by winning a greater percentage of the market. There are many ways to do this, but only one way that really matters.

What makes your product/service different from all the others already on the market. Can you offer the best quality products? Maybe you can offer more perks for signing up than anybody else. For example, when customers buy your book you can give them a second book for free, on top of access to an entire database of valuable resources about your subject.

Expansion is not for everyone, but you don’t have to wait for a breakthrough to expand your business. Simple, focused tasks over extended periods of time yield the best results. How do you plan on expanding your business?

Sources
Collins, James C. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't. Random House Business, 2001.

Starting and Growing My Business. (2017). Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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