Congratulations; you’ve obviously survived the, normally tentative, first year of business, and if you’re ready to expand, then things must be going well. Running a company is a tough journey, but you already knew that, and it doesn’t bother you. However, as long as you’re putting your efforts and investment into the correct areas, you’ll be able to grow successfully and as seamlessly as possible. The following are some key areas that you will need to consider when your online business is taking the next step.
Your Environment And Workspace
The beauty of owning an online business is that you can run your company from any location, and won’t have the costly overheads that often come with the expansion of physical stores. However, expansion often comes with new employees, equipment, and the need for extra space. Therefore it’s a smart choice to consider looking into an appropriately sized property to lease, that will be able to house your business over the next year or so comfortably. Who knows, you might need to have quadrupled the size of your office in 5 years time, but, for now, plan wisely for the initial expansion phase.
Bear in mind all the things you’ll need in your office; any extra desks, for your team, you might need, and perhaps a reception area, meeting room, and a personal office for yourself. Renting a shipping container or a conex box is the ideal way to store all your new office furniture, equipment, and even decorative items, before you’re ready to move into the space. Having a storage space will also allow you to collate and invest in items over the interem period; another great way t save cash and avoid paying out large lump sums. You’ll want everything and everyone under one roof as things get busy, and won’t want to have to travel elsewhere for meetings; unless it’s required by another company. Having the bulk of your staff and tech in one place will make it straightforward to get all hands on deck when needed.
Your Relationships And Network
Although you won’t want to be best friends with a direct competitor; now is the time to strengthen your relationships with related businesses and brands. Bringing affiliate brands on board will allow them to bring their customers and audience your way. Yes, you’ll be putting work into promoting and helping their company. However, the payoff and long-term success for the both of you can be extremely lucrative. Other businesses will be in your position, and on the cusp of major growth, so you can both help each other reach your goals.
Networking events and trade fairs are a great place to start, and the perfect way to start business alliances. Try to arrive as positive as possible, and be friendly to those you meet; word of mouth counts for a great deal in the business world, so a good first impression could go a long way. Make sure you’ve got your contact details and business cards at the ready, and be prepared to set up as many meetings, informal chats, or even pitches, as possible in the following weeks; you never know where they might lead.
Your Data And Investments
Your information and data are crucial elements to the continuation of your business growth. Therefore, it’s essential that you ensure you have thoroughly thought out how and where it is stored. For a company that is continuing to grow, looking into cloud services is a smart choice; it will give you the flexibility to expand in the knowledge that your information is secure. Also, if you want to outsource any of your work and services from across the country, or from overseas, your employees will be able to gain access to what they need, wherever they are.
You might want to update the infrastructure of your company’s software and security too; as you become a larger business, your processes and the way things are run will ultimately change. Therefore it’s worth investing in the right companies to help you put things in place, that will allow you to expand with ease and without any costly delays. As you bring in new members of the team, you’ll be able to train them in all of the new processes; instead of making them learn one way, only to be retrained a few months down the line. Invest early, to save money in the long run.
Your Stock And Services
Expansion not only allows you to increase the flow of stock or services you provide; but also gives you the chance to diversify your stock and what you do. Offering your customers related products and complementary services will only encourage them to visit you more often, and it makes sense to be known for a particular area of retail, over one specific product. You can check out what the best E-commerce sites are doing online and get some inspiration for your business. As the CEO of your company; you’re also qualified to offer advice and seminars to fledgling businesses.
Offering your teaching services will get you out into the relevant business areas, and will allow you to meet brands which you could potentially work with in the future; it’s also a great way to market who you are and what you do. Rolling out new lines and services is also a great way to boost traffic to your social media and website, which will ensure a steady boost in sales; which is just what you’ll need during expansion. Be brave with your choices and try new things, as long as you’re prepared to dismiss items that don’t work for you quickly; you’ll be able to profit from those things that seem to take off, as you’re offering something different. Always keep your brand’s identity in mind, and your product choices will make sense to your audience
Lastly, the quickest way to double your business’ size, is to merge with somebody else. Merging can be a daunting prospect, but can also prove a wise move for those who need support and equity, to allow them to expand. Think about what you should understand and know before merging, and do your research. All of the above tips and information will come into play during a merger; so keep your wits about you, update your processes, and build strong alliances. You’ll gain their customers, technology, and staff, so you should be able to gain business success in no time.