There comes a time in the life of many new businesses when the need to expand becomes obvious. The trick is in knowing when and how to go about that expansion. Although the motto of business is often 'expand or die', pursuing growth for growth's sake can sometimes be counter-productive. At the same time, you'll know when the moment is right, and when it's time to invest in new technology, new business areas or new territories to help your startup grow and prosper.
1. Focus on your core brand
For some startups expanding can equal diversifying, but for a young company, it's best to establish a core brand before reaching out into other areas, no matter how tempting that might be. Look at what you do well, and what gives you the edge over the competition. Then concentrate on working out how you can do that even better- and more, make sure you let people know about it.
2. Futureproof your data storage
The one thing that any modern business acquires quickly is data, and as a result, you need secure, reliable and scalable data storage right from the beginning. As a startup, there's no point in throwing money at expensive solutions that might not work for you. A safer alternative is MooseFS, a high-performing open source distributed file system that combines data storage with data processing and is fully scalable, providing lifetime usability. It's also compatible with most old and new technology and though free it is fully supported.
3. Consider hiring more employees
The key word here is 'consider.' Hiring the wrong person could be a costly mistake, so it pays to think carefully about just why you are taking on more staff. Do you need new skill sets? You might be better off outsourcing. Do you want to increase production, or free-up existing team members to do what they're particularly good at? Better technology could be a more viable solution than hiring new people.
If you do decide to take on new employees, you will obviously need to think about how you can attract the best candidates. Being a startup business, you won't be able to pay the highest wages, so what else about your company is likely to interest them?
4. Focus on the customer
Rather than concentrating on how the business can make more money, the correct way to expand is to focus on your customers and consider how you can improve their experience. Use market research and encourage feedback; find out what they like and what they don't like about your product and figure out how you can serve them better. Customers are the lifeblood of your enterprise, and providing a great service is the way to gain more of them.
5. Be creative in your marketing
Selling your brand needn't mean taking out expensive advertising. If you know your core strengths you can promote them through public speaking, articles, and seminars. Use social media sites like LinkedIn and find creative ways to encourage potential customers to try your product or service. It's all about finding your unique selling point (USP) and letting people know about it.
Most startups fail in their first year. If you've got to the point where you're considering expanding you've already done better than most fledgling businesses. Growing steadily in the right direction will help you achieve your long-term business goals.