Turning a small business into a big one is never easy, when you're looking to grow your business, it's essential to have a clear strategy and plot what you're going to do and when. You need a strategy that brings you the most results from the least amount of risk and effort. Think of growth strategies as a kind of ladder, where lower-level rungs present less risk but perhaps less quick-growth impact. There are various options when it comes to building a growth strategy.
Establishing a joint venture is an option you could take. Joining forces with another business, either through a joint venture or partnership, can help you access new markets and customers. You'll also have more resources available and have access to a larger skills base. If you choose this route, you'll need to think carefully about who you partner with and ensure you have a contract or agreement drawn up. Both parties need to benefit, most joint ventures are carried out by those businesses that offer complementary services or products.
Try and increase your market share. Study your core customer base and look to access other groups, including those of your competitors. Look at the characteristics of your product or service - is there anything that marks it out from the competition that you could use to attract new customers and make your existing ones more loyal? Does your product have any new uses and applications that can be used to further penetrate the market? How effectively are you matching your product or services to customers' needs? Why not ask for feedback from your clients?
Consider alternative channels where you can pursue customers. Selling your products online is a classic example and made even easier by developments in software and technology support. Developing new products to sell to your existing customers as well as to new ones is another growth option. Selling products to your existing customers is far less risky and easier than having to understand a new product and market at the same time.
In order to cope with your company’s growth you will likely need to employ more staff and also, depending on the skills they possess, identify new training opportunities. Practically you might also need larger premises or require new IT systems. Developing a growth strategy often requires additional finance but how to fund this? You could simply try and sell more however in that there is still a problem, you are at the mercy of your debtors and their length of payment terms. There are a number of alternative finance firms that offer SMEs access to funding without them having to resort to bank loans. Alternatives like invoice discounting allow growing companies to selectively auction their invoices due to large customers to a network of high-net worth and institutional buyers raising flexible working capital.