Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Helpful Tips to help grow your small business

Entrepreneurs who have survived start-up and built successful small businesses, need to take further steps to expand their ventures. If you have survived the hurdles of starting up and building a thriving business, you may be wondering how to take the next step and grow your business beyond its current status. Small business consultants and owners of established ventures, say there are many possibilities or ways on how to grow your business. According to them, the apt application of a particular procedure will determine the extent which an entrepreneur may go. They note that choosing the proper one or ones for your business will depend on the type of business you own, your available resources, and how much money, time and sweat you are willing to invest all over again. The Chief Executive, Solomon Hunt Limited, a business strategy and consulting firm, Mr. Tobenna Okoli, says an astute entrepreneur must have clarity of thought when it comes to growing his business. Some of the tips discussed in our last piece, on how to grow your small business, require you to open a new location, deal on licensed products, and establish an alliance. Below are additional ways through which a small business owner can grow his venture, according to experts:

One major way to grow your venture after its being built into a successful small business is to diversify. You can diversify your products or services. In diversifying, you may consider selling complementary products or services, teach adult education or other types of classes, import or export yours or others’ products, or become a paid speaker or columnist. According to professionals, diversifying is an excellent growth strategy, as it allows you to have multiple streams of income that can often fill seasonal voids and, of course, increase sales and profit margins.

Experts say once you’ve been able to establish a loyal customer base and have achieved some retail brand recognition, you can broaden your product base with additional line extensions. This can broaden your target audience and can increase your presence in the marketplace, giving you the credibility to approach much larger customers. Meanwhile, you should make necessary research on the product or service line you wish to diversify into, so as to avoid making severe losses.

Aim other markets
Since you are in the process of business expansion, you need to be visionary and aggressive. Target markets that you think your products can thrive in. Your current market is serving you well. Are there others? You bet. Other markets may fetch more income for you. Experts say if your consumer market ranges from teenagers to college students, you should think about where these people spend most of their time. Could you introduce your business to schools, clubs or colleges? You could offer discounts to special-interest clubs or donate part of your profits to schools and associations. This, in a way, will help woo some customers to you.

Apply for government contracts
Though this may not be easy, experts say one of the best ways for a small business to grow is to have the government as a customer. The government is among the largest buyers of goods and services. If you can market some of your products to government agencies, and can complete a deal, this will impact on your turnover positively. It is therefore important to seek ways on how to work with your local government agencies as well as state and federal parastatals, as this will help you determine the types of contracts available to you. However, you must realise that a fair amount of patience is required in working to secure most government contracts. Experts say that requests for proposals usually require a significant amount of groundwork and research. If you’re not prepared to take the time to fully comply with their terms and conditions, you’ll only be wasting your time. This might sound like a lot of work, but it could be worth it. According to small business consultants, the good part about winning government contracts is that once you’ve jumped through the hoops and win a bid, you’re generally not subject to the level of external competition of the outside marketplaces. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to go for a government contract, please seize it. Tender your request and work hard to get it granted.

Merge or acquire smaller businesses
This is another useful means that will help grow an entrepreneur’s business. Once you’ve successful grown your business to an enviable height, and you can comfortably acquire smaller ventures that operate in your sector, do not hesitate to do so if you have the opportunity. Also, if there are chances to merge with similar businesses, you can go ahead and strike the deal. Experts say by successfully acquiring or merging with another company, your customer and your firm will grow considerably. However, before acquiring or merging with any firm, make sure you do thorough research and consult with experts and legal practitioners to guide you on the terms and conditions that should be established.

Expand to the Internet
Some experts are of the view that very soon, there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all. Perhaps this is overstating the case, but an effective website is becoming an integral part of business today. Professionals say that landing your website in search engine results is vital, as more than 80 per cent of traffic comes via search engines. Design and programming are also important, but it’s your content that will draw a visitor into your site and get them to stay. Your ability to put together a content strategy based on user behaviour, measuring and tracking visitor click streams, and writing the content based on researched keywords will get you excellent search results and meet the needs of your visitors. As an entrepreneur, it is your duty to seek avenues that will help grow your business beyond its current status.


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