It takes a special kind of person to start a small business. Part gambler, part strategic thinker, part shrewd operator, part rainmaker, about 10 parts of working smart to 1 part luck, et voila!
Clearly, if you had an idea for a small business, launched it, signed on reliable suppliers, established a market presence, built a customer base, and started making money, you are that special person.
Grow or die is the imperative in your competitive world. So, the next trick is figuring out and putting into play financially sensible ways to expand your business. It might sound daunting, but you got a business off the ground, so building it out is well within reach.
Here are six ways of expanding your small business without breaking the bank:
1. Join forces
Working with local businesses that sell compatible products or deliver complementary services is a clever marketing move. Each company has a demand base that fits into the other’s supply, so both businesses win. Moreover, they can collaborate on marketing and advertising campaigns to drive down costs and still offer customers a premium experience.
2. Sell online
Expand your customer base by launching an e-commerce site, either as stand-alone or a sub-domain of your existing business website. You’re now in the global market with the potential to draw customers from the next town over or the other side of the world. That’s an investment, but you have a business that’s earning, so you can figure out how to make it profitable. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of e-commerce marketing. You might also consider creating a store on Amazon or eBay.
3. Go off-site
This is a particularly attractive opportunity for businesses in the food and beverage industry. Off-premises sales get your brand in front of wider audience, which may eventually get more customers in the door and increase revenue. Bakeries, cafes, bars, and restaurants all offer off-site sales. “Make it yourself cocktails” is an emerging trend among bar owners that can’t sell adult beverages off-site. Instead, they offer takeaway pre-mixed cocktail ingredients that customers can use to make exotic drinks with their own liquor. Customers find them for impressing friends and family and making an impression at dinner parties.
4. Expand your offerings
Your loyal customer base may be interested in offerings that complement your established product line. This idea might mean cutting into somebody else’s market, which means you’ll have to invest time and money in research. If that’s a green light, you’ll also have to invest in new inventory, which may mean finding new suppliers. It takes patience and a resilient budget to make a product-line expansion work, but if it does work it’s a great way to grow your business.
5. Make your customers feel special
If you don’t offer a loyalty program, start one. That’s a surefire way to keep customers coming in and buying. Moreover, they’ll tell friends about it, particularly if it offers real value for value, and that drives new business. Whether you offer frequent-buyer cards or set up a VIP program for repeat-customer discounts and exclusive offers, a loyalty program is one of the most reliable ways to get new customers and keep existing ones.
6. Go social
An engaging, relevant social campaign is nearly a requirement for businesses that want to expand their market presence. A good social media campaign should be able to attract customers from all over and really expand your market reach. Cross-promote your business on several platforms to reach various demographics. For instance, TikTok is the place to target the Gen Z audience, whereas millennials and boomers prefer Facebook. If you provide professional services, LinkedIn is worth considering. To reduce costs, take a look at ways you can recycle content across a variety of social media platforms to make sure that you are reaching as wide an audience as possible.
Try out any of these six ways to expand your small business without breaking the bank and see how your brand could flourish. Whether it’s a killer social media campaign or simply offering a takeaway option to your customers, expanding your business has never been easier.