While some small business owners are perfectly happy keeping their companies small, most business owners are looking to expand—either by offering more products or services, opening additional offices in other cities, or by simply increasing the amount of business they do and the number of people they employ. After all, you got into business to make money, and expanding your business is a way to make more of it!
If you’re not careful, though, expansion can become more of a curse than a blessing. Managing multiple locations or an increased number of employees can really take a toll on business owners who aren’t prepared for the challenges that will likely accompany such growth. In addition, the popularity of one product or service doesn’t automatically mean that the next product or service you choose to offer will be a success with customers.
That doesn’t mean, however, that small business owners shouldn’t look to expand—they just need to do it in the right way.
Tap into Your Existing Customer Base
For one Temecula pest control company, Knockout Pest Control and Termite, expansion has meant offering an additional type of service that they knew their customers would need. The company now employs a general contractor in addition to their pest control technicians. By doing so, the company is able to both rid a property of the its pest problem and repair the damage done to the home or business due to termites, rodents, or any other pests.
They have become a sort of “one-stop shop” for customers in the area, which has been valuable to their customers and to the business’s bottom line. What makes this expansion especially smart is the fact that they are able to increase sales without having to find additional customers. The same customers that use the company for pest control are also using the company for their repair services.
Chase Massey, owner of Knockout Pest Control and Termite, said this about choosing to add structural repair services to his business: “It just seemed like a natural addition to our business. We want our customers to see us as a valuable resource that they can call on when they need help with pests, as well as help repairing the damage they can do. We didn’t want to be a company that says, ‘Well, we got rid of your pest problem, but now you’re on your own to find someone to fix the damage.’ I think our customers really appreciate that we are more of a full-service company that can take care of the problem from start to finish.”
Listen to Your Customers
Taking the same approach used by Massey at Knockout Pest Control, think about your own small business. What products or services would be a “natural addition” to what your company is already offering? In other words, what do your existing customers need or want in addition to whatever you sell?
If you’re not sure, think about common questions you get from your customers. Do they ever ask you for referrals for companies that offer services related to what you do? For example, if you design and install swimming pools, your customers likely ask you for referrals for pool cleaning companies or individuals who can repair pool equipment. Could you begin offering these services as a part of your business to give you additional, steadier, income? If your business involves making and selling products, have your customers ever asked you about providing accessories to your current products, or about creating similar products with upgraded features?
You know your business better than anyone, but your customers have a perspective that is different from your own and very valuable. Listen to them. They may just provide you with an idea that can help you expand your business!