Are you ready to grow your small business? Here are some growth strategies that will help businesses of all sizes.
Are you looking for a business growth strategy for your small business? Sometimes, the way ahead will be obvious. If you've got three shoe shops, open a fourth. If you sell 22 widgets, launch a 23rd.
Sometimes, it's not as straightforward.
One business growth strategy is to ramp up sales of your current products to the same market segments without altering your products. Is your target market aware of your product? If so, are they not buying?
If you're a fledgeling business, you can gain market penetration by a mix of competitive pricing, sales promotion and advertising. For market penetration for existing customers, you can encourage increased engagement, perhaps by initiating a loyalty scheme.
If sales of your existing products have matured or you've found new sectors that you might have overlooked before, you can modify new products and offer them to your existing market segment.
Maybe introduce complementary services or products to give a shot in the arm to current products while injecting new revenue with sales from the new product.
One firm that did this well was Audi. Known for years as a manufacturer of powerful luxury saloons, the German manufacturer introduced the A1, a supermini-sized economy car, in 2010.
In this way, Audi was able to capitalise on a demographic happy to pay a premium for a luxury brand but was able to give them a new proposition. Any Audi fans suddenly in need of a compact runabout could now stick with the brand, rather than having to look at options from lower down the automotive food chain.
Market development is a market growth strategy that identifies and develops new segments for your existing products. In the web age, this is easier than ever. How about expanding your geographical targets? Build a website or modify your existing one to capture customers from new countries or regions.
Note that this export angle is considerably easier if you're offering a service. If it's a product you're exporting, you'll need to consider how suitable your offering is for foreign markets and what costs and restrictions you'll face getting it out of the country.
For many, a simple SEO campaign targeting specific areas of the UK might be enough to ramp up new markets.
Feeling brave? How about going in a completely new direction? Achieving business growth by finding fresh markets? This is where market research comes in - make sure you know your new markets inside-out. This is the bravest and most-complex option, but if you get it right, it could land you the jackpot.
For many, the most popular business growth strategy will be market penetration. It's the least demanding and the market is being choked with ever-more new products and new market segments.
Big businesses such as Apple and Microsoft have, however, shown that staying ahead in a crowded marketplace means investing in product and market development.
Presumably, though, you're not Apple or Microsoft and don't have the bottomless pockets you'll need to carry out the exhaustive market research required or the backing of wealthy stakeholders.
As your business grows, you might pass the rolling threshold for VAT payments, which is currently set at a turnover of more than £85,000. Don't forget to register for VAT.
You might also find that a different legal structure, such as a Partnership or Incorporation, could be more suitable.
If you're unsure about your best business growth strategy, contact the business support helpline in your area for help.
If you're a small business, the wisest option might yet be developing and investing in high-performing sectors of your product portfolio while divesting your business of products or services that are performing less well.
This way, you can refocus your energies into your strongest offerings, buy a yacht and sail off into the sunset.