In a world of instant communications and on-demand access, businesses struggle to make it out of the start-up phase. Almost 90% of new ventures undertaken by hopeful entrepreneurs will fail. For those that survive the beginnings of business, a further 90% will fail during the next three years.
If your company has overcome the pitfalls presented to it during the start-up phase, then congratulations, you deserve every piece of the market that you have earned. However, to keep your business alive and relevant, you will need to grow. Planning your expansion is as critical as planning your start-up, choosing a strategy that will help your company grow will be dependent on your business model and should be congruent with your firm’s values and goals.
Here are five examples of growth strategies that you can implement in a variety of businesses to expand your firm’s footprint in a competitive business climate.
#1 Duplicate Your Business
Do you own a successful retail store? Why not replicate your success by opening another store in a different part of town? Over the course of your start-up, you will have learned what it takes to make your retail strategy work. Take what you have learned and reduce your learning curve in your new location with your previous experience.
#2 Develop an Online Strategy
Your company may have an online presence but is your website doing everything it could to drive your business? Turn your outdated information website into a lead generating machine using outbound marketing strategies, SEO, and social media marketing. Reach out to influencers in your niche and get them to put your products in front of their audiences.
#3 Secure Licensing Agreements
License your product to resellers. Offer white-label options that resellers can brand as their own. Receive income from licensing fees and royalties for the use of sale of your IP.
#4 Expand with an LBO
If your competition is fighting you, consider buying them out. Speak to venture capital firms and private equity about merging with partners or competitors to strengthen your business interests.
#5 Penetrate New Markets
Move your brand or product into the international arena and test it in foreign markets using international trade consultants to guide you through the process.
Plan the Details
Your growth strategy needs to be planned out on paper. Update your business plan with your results of the start-up phase and create some new goals and milestones to achieve in your growth phase. Planning is essential, without it you will not have the direction and drive to expand as fast as possible. Write your strategy down and then execute it as quickly as possible.
Working with the Right People
Growing your business in a challenging economic climate is possible if you work with the right people to expand your operations, marketing, and administration. In the growth stage of your business, delegation and orchestration of your resources become more critical than ever. Consult your mentors for advice if you begin to feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
Where to Find Funding?
As a new business, you will find it difficult to procure funding for your growth strategy from banks and other financial institutions. The chances are that your credit score is too low for them to consider taking a risk on your business.
Instead of wasting your time with the banks, find a reputable microlender in your area that can help you secure the business funding you need to implement your growth strategy. Microlenders do not require the same stringent lending criteria as large banks, and they are more flexible in their financing terms.
Your company will need debt to grow, so remember that there is good debt and bad debt. Using debt to fund activities in your business that drive income and sales is a productive use of a credit facility. Using a loan to fund expenses and lifestyle could end up being a catastrophic mistake that you will regret. Be responsible for your loan and use it for productive growth strategies that bring you more revenue.
The Final Thought
The most important part of your new growth strategy is the speed at which you execute it. The faster you put things in motion and begin testing your new ideas, the better chances you have of business survival and building a sustainable, profitable company.