There comes a point where every business owner has to figure out how to grow a small business into a large business. Large, successful businesses don’t just materialize out of thin air. They require unwavering dedication, commitment, and focus. Only then can a business realize its true potential.
Many of the world’s biggest tech companies were started in a garage. Some of the largest global restaurant chains started from a single location. Every small business has to figure out the unique set of challenges it will face when scaling. There’s much to learn from the experiences of others as those proven methods help reduce the learning curve for business owners and enable them to hit the ground running when expanding their business.
16 Proven Methods to Expand a Small Business Into a Large Enterprise
It can be very useful to study how others have achieved their business growth. Their experiences can help you figure things out quicker and scale up more effectively. Here are more than a dozen proven methods that businesses across the globe have used to become leaders in their industries.
Expand Product or Service Offerings
Most small businesses usually offer one or a very small number of products and services. Diversification is important as it helps you better withstand downturns in the market. If there’s less demand for one product or service, others can make up for it and save the company from suffering major losses.
Amazon is the perfect example of product diversification. It started as an online marketplace that sold books. It’s now the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace, selling everything under the sun, and has a thriving web solutions business among other sources of revenue.
Look at the trends in your industry to find out how you can expand your offerings. Talk to customers and understand their pain points to figure out how you can better address their needs with new products and services.
Open Additional Locations Or Expand Into New Markets
Going after customers in new markets is a logical step in achieving business growth. There’s only so much revenue you can extract from customers in one single market. Bringing new customers on board is vital to the growth of any company.
For example, if you’ve got a coffee shop in Manhattan that’s popular, perhaps you may want to consider opening a location in Brooklyn. You’d ultimately look beyond New York and start opening locations in new cities to further grow your business.
Due diligence is needed when expanding to new areas. You need to be sure that the area has the right demographics, customer fit, and purchasing power for your products. It’s essential to do this research first before opening new locations.
Increase Advertising and Marketing Efforts
Advertising and marketing is essential to growing a business. You need to get the word out and let as many people as possible know why they should be spending their money on your products and services instead of a competitor.
As your business begins to make more money, increase your advertising and marketing efforts. For example, if you started by doing your own social media in the early days, it would be best to hire an agency as the business grows to have professionals handle your online marketing campaigns.
You can also consider other forms of advertising, such as print and media campaigns, depending on what’s the best fit for your business.
Develop a Strong Online Presence
A solid online presence needs to be the cornerstone of your growth strategy. People will look up your business online, search for product reviews, and base their purchase decisions on the experience of others.
Invest in a quality website that presents your products and services in the best light. Make it very easy for people to find information about your offerings and how they help make their lives easier. Incorporate social proof in your online presence so new customers can see how your products have already been helping people.
Use your social media profiles as customer service tools. People tend to reach out through social media when they face issues. Be proactive in listening to and solving their complaints through the medium they use the most.
Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Your business will generate a lot of data as it expands. There will be new leads to chase, fresh customers to onboard, old customers to retarget, etc. CRM tools make it easier to sort through the data, unlock new synergies across departments, and improve customer service.
For example, if your sales team receives feedback from a client that they’re unhappy with the level of service, they can leave notes in the CRM so that the customer service team can follow up and make sure that the client feels taken care of.
There’s a wide range of CRM tools available today that allow for effective management of your customer base. The more you streamline this part of the business, the better you can focus on expanding it.
Form Strategic Partnerships or Collaborations
Strategic partnerships with others in your industry can be very helpful, particularly in market development, as the partners can work towards the joint goal of unlocking new opportunities in the market.
Significant value can also be unlocked through marketing collaborations. Working with influencers and thought leaders in your industry can introduce your business to audiences that are ripe for conversions.
You must ensure that the partnerships or collaborations you pursue are a good fit. It should be clear to you how your business will benefit from such an arrangement, otherwise, these endeavors won’t achieve the required objective.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Perhaps the most important method of how to grow a small business into a large business is to provide exceptional customer service. You’ll find that this is something a lot of customers are very sensitive about. Make it one of the reasons why customers will choose your product over a competitor.
Make it easier for customers to reach out and seek support from your business. Prominently list contact information on the website and social media channels. Use your social media presence to provide support.
Taking a more proactive approach also helps. For example, you can follow what’s being said about your products online and step in with assistance whenever customers need it.
Focus on Customer Retention and Loyalty Programs
While new customer acquisition is important for the growth of your business, don’t let that be at the cost of losing your existing customers. Create a loyalty program to provide incentives that boost customer retention. It’s going to cost you far less than it does to acquire new customers.
For example, you can offer discounts to repeat customers or create a points-based system that they can then redeem for products. It incentivizes existing customers to keep spending their money with your business.
Customers must be able to see the value in your loyalty program. It shouldn’t simply exist for the purpose of benefiting the business. It’s only when the customers see the value they get from it will they be willing to participate.
Hire and Train Competent Employees
You may have done everything on your own initially as a small business owner but there will come a time when you’ll need to establish a team. Delegating tasks will free up time for you to focus on the big-picture stuff, such as figuring out how to expand the business.
Take special care when hiring people for your business. People who are competent and dedicated to their work will be the right fit. You can always train them if they’ve not worked in the same industry before.
Train them well on the job so that they can take new hires under their wing, and you don’t have to repeat the whole process as the team expands even more. Well-trained employees are important to the long-term success of your business.
Improve Operational Efficiency
You need to run a tight ship to achieve business growth. This means keeping costs in check and extracting operational efficiency wherever possible. It’s about working smarter and making the most of every opportunity.
It can help to periodically review business processes to streamline operations. You can often find redundancies that can be removed to make things flow quickly. It will help improve the team’s productivity and customer experience.
Better cross-team collaboration can also be achieved with improved operational efficiency. Data can flow seamlessly across different departments, enabling them to work together effectively.
Increase Production Capacity
You don’t want to be in a situation where you have a lot of orders but no products to deliver. Nothing puts off customers more than finding that the product they’ve already paid for isn’t going to arrive on time because the company they bought it from doesn’t have enough stock.
Production capacity isn’t something that you can increase overnight. There’s a whole supply chain that needs to be figured out. If you’re only just finding out that you have a supply problem, it’s going to be a while before you can address the issues.
Gradually ramp up your production as the business expands and the number of orders grows. The supply chain can keep up with the expansion in a similar manner, thereby saving you from the nightmare scenario of telling customers they’ll have to wait.
Invest in Research and Development for Product Innovation
Businesses need to innovate constantly in this day and age. Technology advances and customers’ needs change faster than ever before. Don’t run the risk of being left behind as the world moves forward.
All the best companies invest a significant amount of money in research and development. They have teams constantly working on new products and ways to improve existing products so that the competitor risk can be minimized.
Investing in product innovation can also help unlock new engines of growth, enabling the company to diversify beyond its current sources of revenue and increase its profitability.
Seek Funding Options for Expansion
You don’t need to wait for your business to generate all the cash needed for expansion. Most businesses will seek outside funding for expansion. A lender will be willing to extend financing as long as your balance sheet shows that the business can pay back loans.
A defined growth strategy that’s beginning to show results inspires confidence in lenders. Also, consider a loan program from the Small Business Administration (SBA) as they’re offered on easy terms for the sole purpose of helping small businesses grow.
Be mindful to not take on too much debt so that it becomes a problem to service. It’s not uncommon for businesses to go belly up simply because they’re unable to make payments during a minor dip in the market.
Develop a Strong Brand Identity and Reputation
A solid brand reputation is important for business expansion. A company that’s known to deliver high-quality products and provide exceptional customer service will always be viewed favorably in the market.
The added benefit of having a strong brand identity is that it gets you a lot of publicity via word of mouth. People will tell others who want a product that your company has the best products, great pricing, and customer service that they can rely on.
By focusing on some of these core aspects of customer experience, you can make your business stand out from the crowd, ensuring that people flock to it over competitors because of the perceived value it provides.
Conduct Market Research to Identify New Growth Opportunities
You must always have your finger on the pulse. Keep an eye on the trends in your industry to figure out what new growth opportunities exist. Trends move a lot faster in some industries, such as tech, so be as proactive as your industry demands.
Invest in market research to figure out what customers want and how your products can be improved to make their lives easier. The research will also help you figure out the opportunities for new products and services.
There will always be new competitors. Being complacent is risky as your position in the market could quickly be threatened by a startup. Learn to stay ahead of the curve to ensure the longevity of your business.
Develop a Strong Referral Program
Give customers a reason to recommend your products to other customers. A strong referral program is a good way to bring in new customers with comparatively lower acquisition costs. Simply incentivize your existing customers to bring new people on board.
Offer them rewards or a percentage of the sale. This financial motivation works very well as customers feel more inclined to bring others on board. The more people they bring over to your business, the higher their earnings.
This works out for all parties involved. Your business gets new customers ideally at a fraction of what it would normally cost you to acquire new customers. Your existing customers get rewarded for their efforts and new customers get to experience your products.
Grow Without the Stress of Bookkeeping With doola
Bookkeeping is vital for the success of your growth strategy. It won’t succeed unless you know precisely where every dollar is being earned and spent. Doing it by yourself can quickly become a challenge when you’re growing the business.
That’s why founders who scale up their businesses trust doola Bookkeeping to help with this crucial task. Experience stress-free financial management for your business with seamless invoice processing, client list management, payment collection, and much more.
What role does marketing play in growing a small business into a large business?
Marketing plays a major role in helping a small business grow into a larger business. It introduces new customers to the products and services on offer, increasing sources of revenue for the business.
How can I effectively manage and nurture customer relationships as my business grows?
Relying on a CRM tool is a great way to effectively manage customer relationships. All the data is centralized and easily accessible across teams, so a customer’s relationship can be managed with utmost precision.
What key performance indicators (KPIs) should I track to measure the growth of my small business?
Some of the important KPIs to track for measuring business growth include customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, churn rate, percentage of customer retention, revenue, gross margin, and net profit.
How can I attract and retain top talent to support the expansion of my business?
Offering lucrative compensation and benefits that are on par, if not greater, with the industry average is a great way to attract top talent. Retention largely depends on the company’s culture and the type of work environment that it provides.
What legal and regulatory considerations should I be aware of when scaling up my small business?
Depending on the unique needs of your business, you may need to make changes to the way your business is structured and opt for a different type of business entity. You may also need new licenses or permits to either operate in new markets or offer different products.