Following are a few tips and strategies to apply in order to expand your business:
Select a Target Market
Stay focused on what you do best. Having a clear target will help you easily decide on all other aspects of your business—machines, man-power, supporting technology, marketing efforts, etc. If your target industries require it, make sure you obtain all the appropriate certifications, so you can meet the standards of even the most exigent of customers.
Choose Your Allies
Your network of friends and business contacts can be an extremely valuable source for information and leads. Talk to everybody you know about directing customers your way, ask for advice about best business practices, and develop strategic partnerships. Create word-of-mouth among your peers and use their connections and knowledge to expand your business.
Stand Out from the Crowd and Identify Lead Generation Sources
Make sure you are prepared to communicate your added value. Be ready to explain why you are a better choice than any of your competitors. Identify where you can generate sales leads for your business.
The last few years have affected most small businesses tremendously, but the ones who managed to weather the storm are the ones who were able to adapt to all the major changes in the market. Understanding how demand evolves and being able to adjust to it, is vital and can help you land on your feet when other businesses fail.
Diversify Your Services
Accepting jobs outside of your core capabilities can be risky. However, if your current capabilities support growth in new directions, make sure you consider the possibility of diversifying. In some cases, changes in the market will force you to diversify. The easiest way to expand is to look at your existing range of services or products and see if you can go one step deeper into the manufacturing process.
Diversify Your Customer Base
Maintain a customer base that is relatively diverse in company size, geographical location, industry and volume, will make you less vulnerable.
Industry leaders easily adopt new technologies, while followers fight to keep up, or fail. Something as easy as updating the software you are using, can make the difference between being competitive and profitable, and going out of business.
Keeping a tight production schedule, prioritizing jobs and trying to become as independent as possible from outside suppliers, should help improve your output and create a more seamless workflow. This will also allow you to better estimate your future cash flow and identify specific aspects of your business that need improvement.
Be Flexible and Creative
Finding creative ways to use your equipment can help you save time and money. It's a great idea to invest in equipment that can incorporate secondary work in its primary function.
Giant leaps of faith often prove to be more detrimental than beneficial, and can significantly hinder your business in the long term. Invest as you go and always make sure that every capital equipment purchase you make is cost-efficient. Consider all the collateral costs (training, new hires, etc.), and make sure you have the right sales and marketing strategy to keep your new technology/equipment busy. .
Last but not least, make sure you have visibility. Regardless of how you approach the development of your business, make sure enough potential customers know about you. With more and more customers using the Internet to identify new suppliers, an online presence can help you get the exposure you need, and can direct customers your way without too much effort on your end.