Expanding ones business is a natural progression. Successful startups and SMEs tend to grow exponentially fast; thus it is understandable that most business owners would want to expand with haste. However, like with all things, rushing into expansion without a carefully laid out plan can be costly, should anything go wrong.
While there are cases where adaptable business owners successfully expanded their businesses, there are far more examples of owners who have lost almost everything they worked so hard to build because of poor planning. Misfortune can strike in all forms; from hiring too many employees, to buying too much equipment before securing a stable source of capital.
Here are a few useful tips that can help enterprising business owners avoid some of the pitfalls when it comes to expanding a business.
Develop a company culture
A strong company culture is great for keeping the team together during times of exponential growth. Said culture can keep a team focused on goals and targets and can also help with morale if said goals align with the vision and personal goals of the team members.
When employees feel connected to your company, they’ll be more likely to stick it out through uncertain times. A strong company culture can also help to draw new customers and clients to your business. Therefore, owners should be consistent with it and splash it everywhere, including your website, social-media platforms, marketing materials, etc. When your target audience can see the values behind your company, they can connect with your business on a deeper level.
Hire the right people
The hiring stage is critical to growing a business successfully. It is important to find the right people for the jobs that need to be done. In addition, it is not just their skills which owners must take into account, but their attitude as well. Sometimes, you might find a skilled worker that can fit into your company’s vacant roles; but if they do not care much for the company’s goals or if their vision is different than that of the company’s then you might find it hard to work with them to illicit change.
Focus on innovation in the right places
When expanding ones business, the temptation to spend money to improve your products can be irresistible. However, this may not be the best course of action. If, for example, your online marketing tech is outdated and inefficient, you might want to invest in upgrading that instead. Innovating your current processes will take up less of your resources, and it’s critical when growing your customer base. Always prioritise areas of your business where improvements are necessary. Do not spend money on things that are already working adequately just for the sake of it.
Build brand recognition
When consumers see your logo, advertising campaign, product packaging, or slogan, you want them to instantly recognise it as your company. This all comes down to building brand recognition. Identify your target audience, determine what they want, and do your best to meet their demands consistently. Having an online social media presence especially helps in this regard in today’s digital ecosystem.
Never forget existing customers
Many businesses unfortunately tend to forget about existing customers when they focus on new customers and markets. In fact, according to statistics from Small Business Trends, just six percent of small businesses focus on customer retention. To make your existing customers feel valued, consider creating a satisfaction survey that allows you to gain insights on what your customers love about your business currently, what could be improved and what they’re looking forward to regarding your expansion. Change can be good, but never forget the customers that helped you get to where you are today.