As you are establishing your business or testing your MVP, expanding your business and how to do it should always be in the back of your mind. After all, growth is the sign of a healthy business endeavor, so maintaining that vision of expanding your business is critical so you have something to measure your current actions and performance by.
Once you make it to the expansion stage of your business, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know as you take the initial steps into expanding your business!
1. Do market research before expanding your business
Before doing anything to expand your brand and business, you need to properly understand what your vertical needs and what are the wants of your potential customers.
Does your business provide a valuable service? How can you do it better? What are the most popular ways to solve problems your customers face? What feedback have you collected from your existing customers that you can action?
Small and mid-sized businesses use market research to answer these questions so they can achieve accelerated and profitable growth.
So how do you do market research?
Paid surveys, existing customer feedback, focus groups, and cold calls are some ways to acquire valuable insights and is often referred to as primary research (directly from the source). Analysing reports from outside organisations like chambers of commerce, government agencies and relevant trade associations also provide you with ways to achieve important insights and is referred to as secondary research.
When you put the two together, you will have have a pretty good idea of what the market you are targeting wants. Then, the key is incorporating these findings into your business model/planning and adapting your strategies to accommodate what you’ve learned; therefore, giving your customers more of what they want.
If you do not do market research before expanding your business, you can end up spending much more time and money by executing changes without the proper preparation.
2. Cash flow & inventory management is critical
As you start to think about expanding your business, you want to make sure you are taking the right precautions as far as your inventory management is concerned. When inventory management is done right, your business will get the benefits of greater automation (and productivity), and far better utilisation of your capital resulting in improved cash flow and you will have the capacity to scale quickly.
If you hold stock, growing inventory is capital intensive so you need to make sure you have enough working capital to fund it. This is particularly important if there is a big timing gap between when you have to purchase inventory and when you get paid by customers. Doing a cash flow forecast with your accountant with these creditor terms factored in is a critical element of inventory management.
There are a few different tools that can assist you with inventory management as you expand your business. Inventory management software, for instance, can help you have a bird’s-eye view into what’s in your warehouse. What’s in stock? What has your customer ordered? Where in the product lifecycle is this particular order? With these kinds of tools, you can have total visibility into your supply chain and know when more purchasing is required. This helps in the long run when you’re expanding your business. Mistakes in inventory management can be costly and lead to insolvency very quickly, so software like this helps to minimise the risk and help you operate better
3. Partner with experts to compliment your skills
As a busy entrepreneur or business owner you have to wear many hats in the early days. As your business achieves success and you gear up for growth, it will be impossible for you to do everything you used to do by yourself. In fact, it is not smart to try and do it all yourself when you are expanding your business as your to do list is only going to get longer!
As you grow your business it is important to have a core group of qualified people on your side throughout any business expansion to take on parts of the business that are not your core responsibilities as the owner and leader of your business.
These can include contractors or people already on your payroll — but the fact of the matter is, your own expertise can only get you so far and there are always going to be people who can execute particular aspects of your business operations better than you – and you should take advantage of that. Creating a network of skilled people to support your business is a crucial part of establishing yourself as a successful small-business owner and entrepreneur.
For instance, having an accountant on your side (if you don’t already have one, you definitely should) is critical for understanding more complex business tax scenarios you may find yourself in as you expand, especially if you start expanding into different countries.
You also should consider hiring a social media consultant and content specialist to help you develop your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. Unless this is your core business, it is unlikely you have the skills and experience in this critical field to execute it properly. In today’s digital world, having a quality online presence, whether it be via social media, your website or via search engines is critical to your success.
Chatter Digital can take care of all of this for you and be a real partner to help you with expanding your business.
Take action & start expanding your business today
So are you ready to invest in your business and make it grow? We hope these tips have helped you with some of the important things you need to consider.
You will likely need a detailed social media marketing and branding strategy to pull this off, and you’ll find that the content creation specialists at Chatter Digital are well equipped to support you in this endeavour. Contact us today!