Growing your business
Provided by Business Partners Ltd, South Africa's leading investor in SMEs
If your business is established, you already know the ins and outs of your business environment. However, with market trends changing as often as they do, it is important to stay abreast with these changes and keep your options open.
With the SME environment becoming increasingly competitive, it's important to keep an eye out for new opportunities and possibilities. If expanding your business is something you want to explore, here are some tips to get your creative juices flowing:
Penetrate your existing market: Come up with creative and innovative ways to persuade your loyal customers to buy more and to keep coming back. Attract new customers by asking existing satisfied clients to refer you to others.
Innovate your product or service: Promoting new uses for your product or service is a good way to attract new customers. All it takes is a little creativity and research into where there may be a need.
Extend your market reach: Open your business in new locations. You may even extend your business by selling online.
Conquer a niche market: Big is not necessarily better. So think about focussing your efforts on meeting the needs of a niche market.
Contain your costs: There are two main approaches to cutting costs; liquidating your loser products and improving your inventory turnover. Once again our Financial Management category can point you in the right direction.
Diversify your products: Focus the needs of your already established market or on market segments with similar needs and characteristics.
Franchising: If your business can be duplicated, franchising may be an option for business growth. See the SME Toolkit’s Franchising category for issues to consider.
Exporting: Expanding your business into the international arena is a sure-fire way to ensure your business grows to new heights. But once again, there's a lot to consider and major research and pre-planning to do before you attempt this.
Set up a sales incentive programme: Encourage your sales staff, by introducing an incentive programme that will make them want to get out there and sell. Also include your client-facing staff, by rewarding superior service. A happy customer will always keep coming back.
Encourage your sales staff to up-sell: Add related products and/or services to your existing line. The customer must however be aware of the benefit that this will have for them.
Set up a customer rewards programme: This can build customer loyalty and increase sales.
Distribute free samples to customers: This provides customers with a foretaste of what to expect from the product.
Expanding your service offering need not be as expensive and time-intensive as it sounds. Think about adopting some of these strategies.
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