5 expansion tips for small business owners

Try one or more of these ideas to nurture the growth of your small business.

By Maile Timon

So you survived the initial startup phase and you’re seeking growth opportunities for continued success and a larger bandwidth for your business. This next stage of development is crucial to keep the momentum going, increase brand awareness and stay relevant within your customer base. If the time has come to kick your entrepreneurial ambitions up a notch, the following expansion strategies can help you create a more visible, influential and profitable business framework.

Generate a strong online presence

To reach the modern web-savvy consumer, it’s essential that your business is active online. This means connecting with your target demographic on social media, maintaining an updated and user-friendly website, and posting content that establishes you as a credible authority in the field.

Based on statistics compiled by Hosting Facts in 2016, an estimated 2.79 billion people have social media accounts, and over 5.5 billion Google searches occur on a daily basis. Given the Internet’s universal bandwidth, the potential to increase traffic to your business’s website through search engine optimization and social media engagement is tremendous.

Diversify your products or services

Once you’ve gained a customer base and acquired brand recognition, experiment with tapping into other markets, too. Appeal to a wider audience by obtaining new skill-sets, offering different product selections, and adopting a more versatile business model. For instance, supplement your brand with additional services like an e-book, podcast, webinar and speaking event. Or introduce a product line that is relevant to your established clientele but resonates with a broader demographic as well. According to Entrepreneur, “diversifying is an excellent growth strategy because it allows you to have multiple streams of income that…increase sales and profit margins.”

Launch a brand affiliate program

If your business is operated virtually through e-commerce, an affiliate program is among the simplest techniques to drive sales and boost exposure. Forming a team of affiliates is also cost-effective because they’re paid on commission, which means heightened incentive for them to promote your business and less financial overhead for you since they’re not on the staff payroll. For each sale an affiliate makes, they’ll earn a percentage of the revenue, so it’s a mutually beneficial format. In addition, like Affiliate Sale points out, you won’t have to spend extra marketing dollars on SEO ranking because most affiliates are trained to keep your brand visible on search engines.

Move into an office or storefront

In some cases, physical expansion offers a return on investment worth the upfront cost, so if you can afford the expense and maintenance of commercial real estate, it might be time to transition from a home office to a business location. Before making this change though, ensure the business is generating a consistent bottom-line, then research the economic forecast to track your projected capital growth. Windsor Aughtry, a firm specializing in real estate brokerage, advises creating a long-term investment plan to determine how the market could affect property value, which financing options are available, and what hidden fees you need to start budgeting for.

Network with other businesses

Seeking relationships and partnerships with more business owners or leaders in the field can strengthen your influence too. If another company excels in marketing, distribution, quality assurance or customer service, for instance, propose to align yourself with them. Leverage your network to include the upper-management of this organization and suggest forming an alliance of your two businesses. Being associated with a successful brand gives you name recognition as well, so focus on maintaining reputable industry connections. As Small Business Trends says, “You can survive alone, but you will only thrive when you plug into the community around you.”

Owning a business requires consistent, focused and intentional work. You’ve built the foundation, but without an actionable growth strategy, the framework can’t sustain itself or expand to new heights. So if you want to nurture advancement, increase profit margins and continue serving your demographic, these tips will take your business to that next level of success, visibility and impact.

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Maile Timon is a professional blogger and content editor. She writes on health and fitness, lifestyle and family, business, real estate, education and more. Maile earned her Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism from Chapman University.

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