Growing any business is a constant challenge and chances are today’s economic climate is making things more challenging than ever. If you’ve been using the same business techniques for some time and have found your business growth is at a stand-still, these cost-effective solutions can help expand your business and take its performance to new heights, without running the risk of financial ruin.
1) Hire Affordable, Yet Effective Resources
If you can’t afford to hire full-time employees but you’re looking to expand your workforce, you still have options. Many university students must complete an internship before they’re able to graduate, so contacting universities yourself may be a good way to find qualified and affordable employees. Typically, interns work for free or next-to-nothing in exchange for experience, references and sometimes course credit (although check what regulations apply!). The drawback? Limited, short-term availability. If you’re looking for something a bit more permanent, consider using independent contractors and freelance labour. You can pay these employees based on the amount of work they complete (regardless of how long it takes them to complete it), and you don’t have to worry about providing benefits which would be expected from full-time employees.
2) Utilise Virtual Offices
Virtual offices are a great way to maintain a professional image while avoiding the overhead costs associated with leasing a full-time office location. By utilising a virtual office service, you’ll have a professional mailing address and receptionist who will answer calls professionally and in your company’s name. Depending on the type of package you choose, you may also have access to state-of-the-art office equipment and professional meeting rooms at only a moment’s notice. Most virtual office services are offered on a month-to-month basis, providing maximum freedom for companies to be flexible when their current situation changes.
3) Partner with a Complementary Service
Strategic business partnerships allow small businesses the opportunity to grow their customer base and improve their overall business model. But reaching a new audience is only one of the many reasons for forming partnerships. A new partnership could mean your business will gain access to new products, block a competitor, or increase overall customer loyalty. Finding businesses to partner with is as easy as mapping out a plan, determining prospective partners, and pitching your ideas to them. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be referring you more business, and you’ll be doing the same for them. It’s often a win-win situation for both parties.
4) Sponsor Tradeshows & Events in Your Community
Tradeshows are a great place to advertise, especially if the tradeshow falls in line with your business. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, sponsoring a wedding convention is a great way to reach a qualified audience. Expositions allow your business to exhibit and demonstrate its products to other businesses, but sponsoring one can elevate your image as a leader in the market. On a smaller scale, sponsoring local events in your community is a great way to reach the audience that’s ‘right next door’. Some companies even offer discounts for locals; an easy way to show community pride and establish customer loyalty.
5) Take Advantage of Serviced Office Space
Of course, if your business has expanded to the point where you need a physical office to serve your increasing number of employees and your growing reputation, serviced offices are a great option and are better value than leasing your own space. They are ideal if you need all of the benefits that the flexible virtual office arrangements provide, but would like to give yourself a ‘home base’ with the option to grow smoothly and cost-effectively into new regions. A physical office presence with all of the associated benefits (including professional reception, the latest technology, IT support and more) can be very beneficial to you and your employees and it can also cement your reputation as an emerging player in your market.
The Bottom Line
Imagination and planning are the keys to implementing a business expansion initiative. Each business is different, so spend some time contemplating the above and think about whether or not they’re appropriate for your business. Once you’ve identified possible ways to expand, perform a little market research and learn more about the expansion opportunity. In today’s market, it’s important to keep your eyes and ears open for potential opportunities.