Independent businesses are an important part of the economy and can be special to their local community. They can often provide products that are more unique than the big-name brands you see in the supermarkets or can manage closer customer relationships, building a loyal following in their community.
While this is all a great start and should continue, as a business owner, you want to be able to take your company further and make sure that it keeps moving forward. This will help your business reach new customers and, hopefully, give it a better chance of survival as your brand becomes a more popular name with consumers. It can also be a good opportunity to continue challenging yourself as an independent business owner. However, if you want this to happen, you need to make sure you are doing the following to give your business the best chance of success.
1. Create a Smart Growth Plan
When you first established your business, you will have relied on a sensible business plan for guidance and structure in those earlier years. Not only will this plan have helped you secure financing, but it was there for you to refer to when you were setting up each phase of your new venture. This might have been successful for the last few years that your company has been operating, but if you want to take it to the next level, you’ll need a brand-new plan for this. Similar to the original, think about what you want to achieve with your expansion. For example, do you want to take your business from an online space to starting to lease a physical store? Or do you already have a store and want to open a new one at a different location? What will the budget for the lease be? Is this new location a good place to get foot traffic for new customers? Are you going to introduce new products and services as part of this expansion? How many new employees will you need to manage this move?
These are just some of the key questions you’ll need to ask yourself when creating a smart growth plan. You should also do some market research to see if this truly is the right time to try and grow your business based on consumer patterns and trends and the state of the current economy overall.
2. Managing Your Business Finances Effectively
If you want your business to move forward, then having a steady cash flow and good profits are essential to this. You might have a good idea of how you can expand your business, but if you don’t have the money in place, this makes it more difficult to achieve your goals. Although there may be loan options you can explore, it’s better to try and fund this expansion yourself to avoid getting into further and unnecessary debt. At the very least, only needing a small loan as a cash injection in the initial stages of your expansion would be ideal.
Before you do start taking any steps to move your business forward, make sure you have assessed your company’s financial health first. Consider whether or not you might need some more time to build up funds, and look at areas where you could be saving money to go towards the next phase for your company. Speak to an accountant for advice on how to increase your profit margins, or hire a business financial advisor for some more in-depth advice on making investments, etc.
3. Improve Your Marketing Strategy
Another way you can and should prepare your independent business for expansion is by carefully considering your current marketing strategy. This is how you promote your brand, services, and products to customers, and if you want to move your business forward, you need to make sure you are getting this right. You need to spread the word about your brand beyond your local community and get other people in the country and even across the world talking about your brand and products.
There are a few different ways you can look at improving your marketing strategy, and a good place to start is by considering your digital campaigns. The reason this area is important to focus on is that a lot of consumers search for brands and products online, so this is an area where you are most likely to attract new customers. It can also be very competitive, though, so hiring a marketing agency that can specialize in digital strategies could be a good idea. You might also want to look at how to enhance your social media marketing as part of this, as these platforms are also vital tools for connecting with your customers. Furthermore, influencer culture has become a big part of the promotion of brands, so this is also something to consider and try to break into. Look at this guide to TikTok creator marketing for more insight into how you can utilize this for your business.
4. Do You Need to Rebrand?
Another thing you might want to consider before you start moving ahead with your expansion plans is whether or not rebranding your business could be beneficial. This will not always be necessary, but sometimes updating your business branding can be a good way to give the company a new lease of life and attract new customers. This is particularly true if it has been years since your brand was established, and the current logo and overall styling of your brand are outdated. It’s important to make sure that your business can connect with the modern consumer, so redesigning aspects of your branding can help with this. Furthermore, refreshing your branding also makes your company look more active and open to the changing times, which can be more encouraging for customers to take a chance on you if you’re not a big household name. Rebranding can also be a wonderful opportunity to not only announce your new business plans but reintroduce your company to the world and garner more attention.
5. Getting the Right Team on Board
If you are planning to take your independent business to the next level, you’ll likely need at least a couple of extra pairs of hands to help you achieve this goal. You may already have some employees that you think deserve a promotion, but you will still need to find suitable replacements for them to keep your operations running smoothly. It’s a good idea to think about exactly how many new team members you will need for your business expansion and the best way to advertise these jobs to potential candidates. If you want to save yourself time reading through numerous applications, you might want to consider using a recruitment agency to help you with this. They will be able to promote your vacancy across the website and other outlets and will also have jobseekers waiting on their books that might be suitable for your needs. They can shortlist the best candidates for you so that you are only interviewing those who have passed your criteria and have shown the most promise.
It is important to have employees that are passionate about what your company does and are reliable, especially when you are taking on a big challenge like expanding the company. This will already be stressful enough, so having a team of employees who care about the business and want to see it thrive will be essential.
6. Finding Ways to Reward Your Staff
While having the right team of staff on board will be important, keeping morale high is just as vital if you want your expansion plans to be successful. This transitional phase can be exciting, but it will also come with a lot of pressure, and this can take a toll on your teams if you’re not careful. Organization and effective management of daily operations will help, but you should also think about how you can show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work and support during this time. Think about what incentives you can offer them to make things a little easier while working through this new chapter, such as vouchers for some of their favorite brands or a cash bonus if this is possible. You may even want to arrange an employee retreat to a spa for the day to help them unwind and celebrate when all of the hard work is done. There are various ways you can show your staff that you appreciate them, and while this is something you should strive to do at all times, it’s even more prevalent when there is some upheaval that can create more challenges, even if it is temporary.
If you are planning to move your independent business forward and would like to give this new chapter the best chance of success, consider these suggestions and make sure you keep them in consideration for your new plans. They can all be incredibly useful in you putting your best foot forward for this exciting new chapter in your business venture.