Growth has to be a priority for your business. For one thing, if you’re not proactively looking to expand, you run the risk of missing out on the opportunities for growth that other, hungrier business will latch onto, denying you resources and, ultimately, your share of the market. For another, if you have investors or shareholders, they will be looking to you to be planning growth that will create good returns for them. If they don’t see you proactively reaching out for that future, they may decide to take their money elsewhere in future!
That doesn’t mean all attempts at growth are equally good. You have to assess the risk against the possible rewards, and compare your business model to the expansion plans you’re considering to ensure they are a good match.
Growing Your Inventory
New product development is often a good option for a business, especially one where retail is part of their brand. The term ‘product’ has broad description, however, and can be equally applied to what you have on offer if you’re a financial institution, a consulting firm, or are selling software licenses. A product is simply something customers will pay you money for. Designing a good product can help you grow your revenue stream for your existing loyal customers, or help you to grow your customer base, bringing more people to shop with you.
Make sure you have a data-based, iterative approach to your design: use feedback from your customers on what they value in your brand and what they want to see from it to inform your initial designs, and then see how they respond to those designs, repeating until you have something optimised for your market.
Another obvious way to grow is by expanding the physical size of your business. Bricks and mortar retail businesses can expand their reach by opening new branches in other locations, which gives them access to whole new groups of customers. If you’re web-based, moving to a bigger office can still give you the chance to employ more people, giving you enhanced capacity to take more orders, make more sales and see an increase in revenue.
One thing you need to be careful with when you consider physical growth, is the cost of expansion when considered against the eventual profits. Opening a new store comes with a lot of upfront costs, from renting and fitting out the building to hiring people to staff it, and can be some time before you build a big customer base and it begins to repay those costs. If you can’t support your business in the meantime, that expansion could see you close, even if one day it would have been profitable.