Growing an Existing Business
Rapid growth is tempting and exciting, but it can also be a costly trap that can lead to expensive problems rather than continued success. Because you have been successful, you have established a level of quality and an overall vision for your company that identifies your brand and is something in which you take pride. The opportunity for growth can be built upon the foundation you created with your business plan. Revisit your initial planning, take stock of lessons learned and begin to renew your planning efforts with the same thoroughness, persistence and creativity that you used when starting your business.
Entrepreneurs frequently define growth as an increase in sales. Your experiences as a business owner will have undoubtedly exposed you to a variety of sales strategies. Some of these strategies may be your own creation while others may have come from observing how your competition operates. As you consider plans for growth, you can jump-start the process by considering the following questions:
If you decide that the method of sales growth is to increase sales to previous and current customers, your strategies must include:
the production of quality products that meet the expectation of the customer
the delivery of excellent customer service
pricing that assures the buyer of value
Repeat sales rarely happen simply out of habit or convenience, but because a customer was satisfied with the initial purchase experience. It is less expensive to sell to a present customer than to find new ones, yet many firms develop the majority of their strategies with their sights on the new customer. Always start any search for increased sales with a thorough knowledge of present customers and their needs. Even if you find you cannot sell more to them, you can still use the knowledge gained by applying it to strategies you will use to in new customers. If your business expansion occurs as the result of selling new products to your present customers, your experience should allow you to understand their needs and buying habits. If your record-keeping has been thorough, you will have mailing lists and other data allowing the introduction of new products in a cost-efficient way. Business expansion through the addition of new products or services should be well planned even when existing customers are the prospective buyer.
For more information about starting and growing a business in Pennsylvania, check out the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Entrepreneur’s Guide.