Google is probably one of history’s best examples of a company that hit the perfect expansion stride and took off with unbelievable success. For Google, the key to that success was staying true to its roots: Providing users with continually free services, as well as to access to digital information in an information-hungry world. Needless to say, Google’s expansion was probably met with more than a few growing pains along the way. You don’t develop a multi-billion dollar company in just around two decades’ time without a quickly expanding infrastructure.
Indeed, business growth is — or at least, should be — at the heart of every business of every size. Growth means more than just increasing revenue. When you build a business you are proud of, there’s a certain level of joy that comes with expanding that business to serve more customers.
Large businesses, all of which had to expand at some point, may have more capital to grow; but, small and medium-sized businesses may actually have more room to grow, especially when working within less-crowded industries. If you type in “How to grow a…” in Google’s search box, the second search result that comes up is “How to grow a business” (amusingly couched between “How to grow a beard” and “How to grow a beard faster”).
What Does it Take to Grow a Business?
All industries have needs that are particular to that industry. However, there are some tips any business can use to effectively grow a business.
Tip #1: Consider and Predict Demand
How much of a demand is there in your industry for the product you’re developing or the service you’re providing? This seems obvious on the surface, but there’s a deeper level to it than just understanding what people are looking for. This also involves interpreting growing demand and deeply analyzing customer behavior.
If you haven’t been gathering feedback from customers, build a time machine and start, well, yesterday. You’ve probably heard the term big data. It’s a term you’re going to want to get comfortable with. Begin gathering data on your customers and developing customer profiles. Consdier what they like about your services and what they dislike. Most importantly, consider what they would like to see added. There’s no greater way to gather data and put a finger on the pulse of your industry than through your own customer base or potential customers. You may even offer an incentive for customers or potential customers to let you know what they’re looking for.
Just make sure you don’t rely solely on data. Putting a human face to your data collection and a “man on the street” also helps expose your company to the consumers and customers you’re trying to attract.
Tip #2: Take Risks in Market Leadership
Starting and running a business is a risk in and of itself. However, stagnation is the result of finding a niche and sticking with it to the bitter end. It’s also potentially dangerous. There’s no guarantee that your market will stay the same. Growth allows you to expand your business in a way that matches your market while taking risks allows your business to become a leader in your industry. Combine this method with Tip #1.
Know your industry — where it is, and where it’s going — and then take the risk to step out into the unknown. A business afraid to try new things (e.g., new products, new services, or innovative approaches to either) is one that never grows. A reactive business will always ride the coattails of others, and growth will always be slow as a result.
Tip #3: Form Partnerships with Complementary Businesses
Unless you’re trying to make the next Amazon (hint: don’t bother), chances are your business can’t do everything. This is where partnerships come into play. Are there businesses that don’t compete with your own business, but who can help build up your business and services, and vice versa? Make friends with these companies. Promote their products or services as a complement to your own. Meet with them and ask them to do the same.
According to American Express, this is actually a common strategy employed by large companies as part of a growth method that small companies can easily employ. A small coffee shop can partner with a local coffee roaster. An educational services company can partner with local schools or school systems. If the partnership benefits both of you, without feeding off of each other, it’s a sound method for growth potential.
Grow Your Infrastructure Along With Your Business
Growth is good, but it can be painful, especially on your technology infrastructure. Make sure to stay on top of your infrastructure growth by measuring that growth with the right tools for the job. Fidelus is an expert on that end. Helping small businesses grow their infrastructure with the size of their business is a specialty.
By tailoring services to your business’ needs, Fidelus is able to help your business ease those technological infrastructure pains. Whether it’s better communications methods as your business grows beyond just one location, or helping your business set up your new networks at new locations, Fidelus is there to help.