Growing your business

How to turn your small business into a big one

3 min read

So you have products or services that resonate with the market, a track record of sales and good customer retention. Congratulations! You have a great small business – but what’s next? In even the most successful operations there’s always room to grow, so here are six tips to help increase your revenue (and not break the bank).

1. Focus on core customers.

Before you go looking to broaden your customer base, take a closer look at how you might grow sales from existing clients. Who are your most profitable customers, and how can you entice them to spend more? Sometimes this can be as simple as offering easier options to make payments. Customer loyalty programmes can also encourage more repeat business, and incentivise greater spend.

2. Diversify.

Are there additional products or services you could offer your target market? As an established business you have the advantage of an existing customer base to survey about potential areas for expansion. And expansion can take many forms. For example, can you diversify into teaching in your area of expertise, or offer your services as an expert columnist or speaker? Networking with other business owners can be a great way to open your eyes to new diversification opportunities.

3. Cut your losses.

Hand in hand with any investigations into new products or services should be a good look at the profitability of existing offerings. Are there areas of the business that are much less profitable than others? If so, it may be better to scrap those lines in favour of focusing resources on more profitable income streams.

4. Digital expansion.

One obvious route many businesses investigate when looking to grow is opening a physical presence in a new location. However, today’s business owners can also expand via an array of digital channels, which can require significantly less risk and capital outlay. CPA Australia’s 2016 Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey found 38 percent of New Zealand small businesses earned revenue from online sales, compared with a 69 percent average across all surveyed countries, showing there’s plenty of room for growth.

5. Know your limits.

Just as important as knowing where growth opportunities lie is knowing your limits around exploring them. If you’re diversifying, it’s important not to push outside your area of expertise. And there’s little point developing new products or services if you don’t have the resources to adequately market them or provide the back-end functions – such as customer support – they may require. Ensuring you’re adequately insured is also key to safeguarding the business you’re working hard to grow.

6. Great people are key.

Having the best people in your business (and in the right roles) is the central piece of the growth puzzle, and the one that links all other elements together. A business will never grow without the team rolling up their sleeves to make it happen. Treat your people well, make sure they’re clear on the vision you have for the company’s growth and the particular role they’ll play in making that happen. And when targets are reached, come together to discuss progress to date, any alterations to future plans that may be required and – most importantly – celebrate the team’s success.