Five fresh ideas for growing your business

If your growth has slowed or you find yourself looking for new opportunities, it may be time to spruce up your existing business plan.

If your growth has slowed or you find yourself looking for new opportunities, it may be time to spruce up your existing business plan.

The season of spring is a great inspiration – all that new life after a long cold winter. Just like the following fresh ideas to supercharge your business’s growth:

Franchise

The three keys to a successful franchise are a sound business concept, operational processes that can be duplicated, and the ability to harness the energy and self-interest of those buying into your concept. If you can see how your business could be packaged and employed by others, you may be able to franchise it.

Form an alliance

Rather than starting from scratch, consider aligning your enterprise with other businesses that are already selling into your target market. Entrepreneurs often resist making alliances because they typically come at a cost – namely in commissions that would otherwise go to their bottom line. But this all-or-nothing attitude can limit your growth. It’s better to earn a smaller profit from a sale than to not make the sale at all.

Boost sales

Instead of focusing on attracting more customers in your primary target market, take a step back and brainstorm entirely different markets that might be interested in your product or service. Be flexible in terms of seeing ways to adapt what you’re selling. For example, you may be selling a small ringtone application to teenagers. But there may be a way to adapt the basic technology and sell to retirees.

If you’ve established your brand with your customers, diversify into related products or services. In general, it’s much easier to expand sales to existing customers than it is to sell existing offerings to new customers. A broader product line may also expand your target audience, as well as increase the loyalty of your existing customers.

Look at licensing

From a niche product for the technology industry to a brand name, allowing other companies to put your product or service to work is a low-cost, low-risk way to grow. Licensing saves you the heavy lifting that comes with trying to sell to a new market. And, in addition to boosting your cash flow and profit, licensing also wins your company more exposure.

Consider an acquisition

By buying an existing business, you potentially add new customers, increase cash flow, and boost profits. In some cases you may find their existing cash flow can help you finance the purchase. If you are interested in buying another business, your first step should be to get help from an advisor who can assist you in developing a focused acquisition plan and then put it to work.

Next steps