Turn your small business into a BIG one : Easy to implement ideas
Marketing Eye has hit this point many times and each time we have done a situation analysis and made business decisions on where to go. Right now, we are in expansion mode with the US market firmly in our sights, targeting places such as Atlanta.
If you are in this position, think about what your Big Hairy Audacious Goal is and work out how realistic it is given your current resources and capabilities. Things to consider include;
Expand into new markets
In Marketing Eye's case, the US market is the 'new market' we are expanding into. We did relevant research to find out whether the market was receptive to our style of business, how many small businesses in high density markets, costs of setting up Marketing Eye offices and produced a feasibility study. It's very important that when you do expand to a new market, that you have invested in research and developed a business plan for that new market.
Franchise or Licence your company or products
I have seen franchises fail and succeed. Fail because no matter how much publicity they received, they could not make a dollar. Afterall, you become the franchisor. It's hard enough being a franchisee but let me assure you there is a lot involved in being a franchisor. You need to have legals, accounting, marketing, management, systems, operations - you name it - you need it. And it all costs. The franchisor needs to survive on fees derived from franchisees and sometimes if they are not making too much money, then you are surviving on nothing of significance. One of the most successful franchisors in Australia once told me that it is best for a consulting business to 'licence' their IP because of all the legal issues associated with franchising. Speak to a franchise lawyer. Norton Rose has the best team with Stephen Giles.
Diversify your offerings
If you sell hairdressing services, then why not sell hair care products. That one is a no brainer, but if you think about what else you can sell in your business, then it may mean the difference between whether or not you make $1 million or $2 million. Marketing Eye added SEO (search engine optimisation) services last year and every single company should take up the offer as it is more cost effective than any of our competitors and the results speak for themselves.
Market your business offline and online
Think about what you could do if you spent money on marketing. While offline is still effective, leveraging online platforms to penetrate the market more comprehensively and in a more targeted way will help catapult your business to new heights. Companies that fail to invest in online marketing are falling to the way-side and will not survive in the next couple of years. Even if its just having a well-branded website that says what you do and how people can find you - it will mean the difference between getting a sale or not. I recently visited a website for Meier Business Systems in Brighton and could not believe how bad their website was even though their product offering and service is very good. I am sure they lose sales every day because of it.
Innovate and then innovate some more
If you stop innovating, you stop. Full stop. Being innovative and a thought leader will keep you ahead of the curve and will ensure that you are more interesting to your current clients and future clients.