All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
Once the "fledgling period" of your business has come to an end, you need to consider where the market potential for your business lies and what risks this growth might entail.
The first thing to keep an eye on is the economy: a rise in consumer confidence usually leads to an upturn in household spending in general and thus more business for you.
Keep an eye on external developments, such as a drop in share prices; unexpected price surges of important consumer goods such as food and petrol; political developments; or big changes in economic policy - all of which could impact on consumer confidence.
Also keep an eye on trends in your industry:
- Examine your competitors and their prices - have they changed, and if so, how?
- Have your customers changed? Think about their requirements and look for products or services that could complement this trend.
- Look at forthcoming legislation. Will it put a dent in your profits?
- Consider whether the demand for your product or service is growing or shrinking.
Things to think about BEFORE you grow:
- The impact that a change will have on your business processes and practices.
- The extra training your staff may require.
- The extra resources you may need.
- Financing the new products or services.
- Intellectual property that will need protecting.
DON'T make sudden major changes in your business to exploit a new emerging trend. Instead, add something to your business to accommodate it.
Know your market, know where it is headed, consider where you are going, and then plan your course.
Ways of growing your business:
- Franchise your idea.
- Get distributors, sales reps, dealers.
- Open another location.
- Diversify - sell complementary products.
- Target a different group of customers.
- Merge with or acquire another business.
- Expand globally.
- Joint promotions: Look for other noncompeting businesses already reaching your target market and find a way of incorporating their service with yours.
- E-commerce: The Internet is a means of reaching markets that were unreachable in the past. It also provides ease of purchasing and selling almost anything online.