Some, not all, small businesses want grow into larger businesses.  If you are one of them, below are some of the classic growth strategies:

Open a Second (or Third or Fifth) Location.

If your current business is thriving, expansion to a new location offers the possibility of new markets and expanded sales. Careful planning is a must before venturing forth: we’ve all seen a successful business fold under the weight of a new location.

Go After New Markets.

Of course you are already doing everything possible to engage and keep your current customers, and you have made inroads into adjacent target markets.  Have you considered what new markets could use your product or service?  A house cleaning service who targeted people with houses created a new product aimed at small offices with a once per month cleaning and did very well.

Expand Via the Internet.

Businesses of all kinds are selling over the internet. I can make a doctor’s appointment or a restaurant reservation, order almost any consumer product for either pick up or delivery.  How could you use the power of the internet?

License Your Business.

Is there some aspect of your business which others will pay to replicate?  Franchising offers the opportunity to expand your business with a fraction of the risk.  Do you have a product or service you can license? Licensing allows you to expand your brand in a low cost, low risk fashion.

Become an Expert.

Write a book or articles, start a blog, search out speaking engagements, teach at a local college, look for opportunities to cast yourself and, by extension, your business, as the expert in your industry.

Diversify Your Mix.

How can you expand your offerings to increase sales to your current customers and appeal to a new group?  Classic diversifications are fireplace stores which offer outdoor furniture in the off season or a commercial cleaning companies with plant care services. Consider how to broaden your offerings with the least amount of risk.

Buy Your Competitor.

To expand quickly and a with less risk than opening your own locations, buy a competitor’s established business.  See the article on buying a business and be cautious if you decide to rebrand the target business. Of course this action also eliminates one competitor, much as retail chains buy competing retail chains.

Buy Your Supplier.

Depending on the kind of business, buying a supplier may give you more control over your supply chain, the ability to custom manufacture items, and develop new products.

Buy Your Customer.

Buying your customer gives you a more direct outlet for your product or service and may eliminate one middleman, which impacts on pricing.

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