Over the past few years, you have committed a great deal of time and money to developing your small business. By reinvesting your business’s profits back into the company and keeping a close eye on the often unstable US economy, you have made strides in creating a profitable enterprise.
However, as a seasoned entrepreneur you are also aware that the only way to persevere is to continue to grow. The question is not whether you will grow; it is how to grow without overextending your investments or making other costly mistakes. Having a clear understanding of the landscape in which you intend to increase your business will clear the path for successful growth in 2016.
Be Sure You are Ready…and Your Customers Are Too – Naturally, there are caveats. As entrepreneur and TV show producer Yanaeek Page writes in a recent article for the Jamaica Gleaner, before you enact any brand extension, spend considerable time researching its profitability. Does the demand for manicurists or pedicurists match the demand for hair stylists so that hiring a manicurist or pedicurist offers a greater ROI than hiring an additional hair stylist? Similarly, while professional hair care will remain in demand, you need to know if and how the local consumer changes his or her purchases during changes in the economy; during a minor recession, do economists report a drop in high-end hair salon business and a spike in visits to more ‘economy’ salons, such as Hair Cuttery or Fantastic Sam’s?
Know Where to Start – The first step you need to take when planning your service-based business’s growth is to know why your customers and clients have chosen you in the past; why have they hired you to mow their lawns or manage their taxes. The best way to acquire this information is simply to ask, whether during a casual conversation while conducting a service call or via end-of-year customer satisfaction surveys. Once you have a good idea of the aspects of your service people love, you can push that market differentiator via viral marketing. In his article for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, culinary industry consultant Mark Wilson shares an important point that all businesses should heed: listen to client feedback and act on it.
Execute Your Growth – Once you have analyzed and determined your own business’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the market in which you intend to grow, you can then enact your strategy. However, as an article published in the online forum SME Business Academy states, this plan has to allow for some fluidity. Based on your previous successes, you already know this to be the case. Just as a football coach will abandon an ineffective strategy for one that succeeds in winning the game, you must be willing to quickly change focus if your latest project does not result in a timely profit increase.
Anticipate Challenges – You are likely to face the same challenges as when you first began your small service-based business, such as how best to market your product and whom to hire, as well as new challenges unique to a growing business such as where to expand without spreading your business too thin or “cannibalizing” your current success via excessive geographic proximity.
The decision to expand your company’s list of services or to offer your current service to a larger market requires a high degree of scrutiny. You will find that referencing professional consultants can be very helpful in selecting and executing the correct strategy for your company’s growth.
You have succeeded in nurturing your small service-based business, which now enjoys stability and recognition within its specific arena. 2016 is the time for you and your staff to take the next step toward long-term success. Call Aepiphanni today for a free business assessment and to begin taking your business to the next level.
Ian Erickson is the writer for Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Managed, and Implementation Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. Ian Erickson has been advising managers and clients in a wide spectrum of industries on the most effective strategy for years. Ian discusses situations facing small businesses and how to turn challenges into opportunities.
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