How fortunate is it to receive a fortune about increasing your fortune? I guess it would depend on how much faith you put into a cookie, especially when it gives you business advice.
Getting this message made me furrow my brow. Although I write and illustrate, I also own a small online shop for my illustrations. I will admit that this last year was my best year by far, but I can’t imagine expanding much considering all that is happening in our current economic environment.
I realize that the suggestion came from a fortune cookie—I always take advice with a grain of salt. Even if the recommendation comes from a good financial adviser, we should weigh our options before making such a change.
Today’s fortune got me thinking about growing my business and if it was a wise strategy. What signs show owners that it is time to expand their business, and how would we go about doing that? Even if I were just a writer, I would still like to know if I should start that new novel or grow my readership.
After reviewing my own business experiences and diving into various books and articles, here is a summation of what I found.
To Grow or Not to Grow
I Have the Right Team
If we feel like we have more work than we can handle, it might be time to hire employees. If we’re interested in expanding more, having a solid team of employees in place is crucial. We want people that are hard workers and share our devotion and long term goals for the company.
There’s Customer Demand
Are our customers seeking us out? Is word spreading about our company? If so, it might be time to branch out into other locations or markets. A strong customer base is critical, and repeat customers show strong demand for our product or services.
We’re Steadily Maintaining Profitability
Profit is great, but it has to be more than a large spike in sales during the holidays. Profitability over a few years is a good indicator for prospective growth.
We Have a Plan
Always have a plan. Successful growth depends on having the right systems in place. Would our company survive if someone else oversaw the workings? If not, we probably aren’t ready for expansion. If we have the people, policies, and practices in place, we’re more likely to succeed.
We’re Meeting Goals
Having a plan is one thing, but the execution of the plan is just as important. Meeting clearly defined objectives consistently is a good sign your company is ready for some growth.
We Have the Cash
Profits are great, but a growing company requires revenue, cash, and financing too. Expansion is expensive, and having the available funds makes it possible.
Our Industry Is Growing
Look at the industry’s landscape: Is there market saturation? Is it wide open? Is it growing in popularity or fading out? The number of competitors and the customer base’s size can help us determine if there is room to grow.
If all of the signs point to growth, then we can highly consider moving in that direction. The move doesn’t have to be humongous either. Growth comes in many forms. When planning the growth of a company, consider one of these four strategies.
Strategies to Grow a Company
Find that unique feature that makes the company better than others in that market and capitalize on it. There are various ways to be unique, such as price, quality, or variability.
Add a new product. You can keep it simple and extend the selection of a product or develop something completely new. There is a little risk involved as it’s uncertain how the market will take to a new item. Review previous products and see what customers might like before wasting time and resources.
Expand current products into an entirely new market. New markets could include different regions or demographics. Just like product development, there is some risk with this strategy, so it’s best to research the new market thoroughly before moving forward.
Develop new products in new markets. Diversifying combines the previous two options. There is a lot more involved in this option, and it can be risky if we don’t know the territory. If done right, growth could be exponential.
There is one additional way that a company can grow that many forget about, collaboration. Aligning with a strategic partner or social influencer can help companies reach new markets and increase visibility. If we want the best match for our company to grow, we should align with other businesses or influences that already have lists of prospective customers.
As you can, there are many things to consider when it comes to a business’s growth. I’m not a business guru, so please do your own research before making any major business decisions on growth. You can check out sites such as Forbes and Entrepreneur for information and ideas.
I am considering different options for my little shop, but they will have to wait until all the stars align. I still have my work cut out for me and a lot of planning to do. For now, it appears that the only expansion I will see is from eating too many fortune cookies.