Think Big: How to Grow Your Small Business

September 10, 2012  |  

Your business has been steadily growing. New opportunities keep rolling in. It’s time to go to the next level. With the right strategy you can make your small business a big business.

1.   The Small Business Administration (SBA) website advises that small business owners forecast growth. “Maintaining your momentum means looking forward even as you focus on the present. Forecasting and planning are critical to your continued success,” the site says. (You can also check out the site for financing options to help generate growth.) In an online interview, Shirlene Head, founder of creative brand marketing and events company Heads Up Marketing told us, “I’ve found the best way to broaden my brand… is that I’m always researching, networking and pitching out of my box.”

2.    Look into market segmentation. This “simply means picking a sub-set of the entire marketplace that you can organize your sales efforts around. Out of all the people in the world, who will you try to sell to?,” business consultant James Clear, founder of Passive Panda, writes on the American Express Small Business forum. “Most big businesses are good at carving out their corner of the market. Then they do whatever they can to own that space,” he says.

3.    Partner with others. Clear admits that small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to vendor relationships. But, just like the big guys, you can “leverage partnerships” for maximum effect, perhaps finding your spot along the supply chain.

4. “If your business model is easily replicated,” according to the SBA, franchising your business is a good growth option. Or, go shopping. “Perhaps the primary way that most big businesses grow is through acquisitions,” says Clear on the Amex forum. “First, acquisitions are tough. You can easily break the bank with one bad purchase. That said, acquisitions can be a massive source of profit and a means to growth if you make a few key moves.”

5.    Take the lead. “Become a leader in the industry,” writes Clear. “Big businesses often make their name by leading an industry. They make moves when other businesses sit by the wayside.”

6.    Make a to-do list to ensure that tasks both big and small get done. This is critical for a busy small business owner who doesn’t have a staff to delegate to. “Take a page from big business and develop process lists or checklists for specific tasks and jobs. Give yourself a guide to success and a reminder to do the essentials each day. I know that branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for big names,” writes Annie Mueller on the Amex forum.

7.    Stay tech competitive. That means using social media and online resources to all of their advantages.  “Not only use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but blogs and networking organizations are very resourceful for gathering leads and getting insight on ways to brand and get leads,” said Head in an online interview with us.

8. Always be on call.  “Promoting your brand is a 24/7 job –all the time and everywhere,” Head told Madame Noire.

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