When you first started your business, you have a goal in mind. That was about a decade ago. You have reached the pinnacle of success in your market. You have a steady stream of customers. However, your business has plateaued. There are now new customers, and your sales have been the same for the better part of the past couple of years. It’s not just because of the pandemic; your business has been plateauing since before the coronavirus upended our lives. What are you going to do about it?
Close it down? Definitely not. Your business is fine. You have a system that works. The problem is you stopped growing. It’s time to expand and throw your wings open. Yes, even amid a pandemic, it’s important for companies to know when it is time to get out of their comfort zones and reach new markets.
That is easier said than done, of course. Plenty of businesses want to expand but cannot because of a myriad of issues—logistics, finances, management, capital, etc. Thankfully, there are best practices in the industry that can bring success to expansion and new market plans.
Identify the Skills Needed and Reskill or Upskill Your Employees
You cannot expand your business if you do not have the people for the expansion. Now or in the future, you need people who are going to run that expansion to success. The first thing you need to do is identify the skills you will need for the expansion. Do you need someone who can find a great location for the new business? Do you need a social media manager who can speak in other languages?
Once you know what skills your employees must have, define who among your employees currently have these skills. For those who are not skilled enough for the expansion, consider offering reskilling or upskilling programs. In Singapore, businesses use the SGUnited skills programme, which is designed to help workers build their repertoire of skills to suit the demands of the different industries.
Look for Growth Opportunities
There are two ways to grow your business right now. The first one is to sell more to your existing customer base, and the second one is to add products or services to attract a new market. For example, if you have a restaurant, you want your customers to visit you two or more times a month instead of the usual once a month. To do this, you can create an incentive program that will give them rewards when they accumulate a certain number of points. You can also boost your social media marketing to make sure you’re always in your customers’ minds when they decide where to go for dinner.
The second option is to add more products and services to your existing offers. When there are new products on your menu, existing customers will spend more. Your business will also attract new markets, people who wouldn’t otherwise go to your business. For example, instead of offering only seafood, why not serve steaks, too? You can turn your once-seafood restaurant into a surf-and-turf dining place.
Consider Horizontal Expansion
This type of expansion includes adding more space to your physical location, opening new branches, and going global. Don’t feel that you have to make a big leap when expanding the business. It can be as simple as renting the next-door rental space to add more tables and chairs to your restaurant. It can also include promoting the different ways your products can be used by your market.
In a restaurant setup, for example, instead of catering only to diners, you can offer lunch boxes or bento boxes for office workers. You can deliver these lunches at a predesignated time. Doing group orders and deliveries will save them time and money, so this is a very profitable business expansion idea right now.
Help Other Businesses Outsource
What are your business’ strengths? You can help other companies by offering them to outsource their services to you. For example, your restaurant grows vegetables and herbs organically. You can start selling raw herbs and vegetables to other restaurants near you. This way, you’re not only profiting as a business-to-consumers company but also as a business-to-business organization.
There are a lot of ways to expand your business. The bottom line is for your business to profit, help its employees, thrive amid the pandemic, and survive the economic recession. By expanding to new markets and convincing your present customer base to buy more from the business, you are giving your organization a chance for continuity.