No matter what type of home-based business you have, being an entrepreneur can be exciting and exhausting, with each day bringing new rewards and struggles. And, as your business gains momentum, it can be difficult to satisfy existing customers while expanding your company.
Because you are responsible for every aspect of your business, taking your business to the next level can be challenging. How do you transition from a “one-person shop” into a viable business endeavor? What steps should you take to make your company a success?
1. Concentrate on one product or service.
It is tempting to offer multiple products or services in an effort to attract more business, particularly during a company’s beginning stages. In reality, however, it is more effective and productive to pick the one product or service that you excel at and then sell it to everyone. By streamlining your efforts with one product, you will quickly become an expert on it, thus enabling you to become a resource for your customers.
2. Add complementary products or services.
Once you’ve achieved a level of success with the one product/service you are going to focus on, you can introduce related items that complement your current product line. Not only do corresponding products give your customers a more diverse selection of items to choose from, but they also help your company appeal to retailers that are more comfortable offering a complete line of goods, rather than selling stand-alone products.
3. Sell more products to existing customers.
Research shows that it is more expensive to get new customers than it is to keep the ones you already have. Therefore, you can save money by selling additional items to your existing clientele. Some ways of inducing current customers to buy more include instituting customer loyalty programs, offering volume discounts, or creating specialized pricing policies.
4. Outsource when you need help.
Because home-based entrepreneurs wear multiple hats throughout the day, they often find it increasing difficult to manage all aspects of their business as it starts to grow. This often leads to burnout and frustration.
To prevent this and to ensure that your customers are receiving high levels of support, you should hire freelancers to handle the more mundane tasks. You should also cultivate a network of talented individuals whom you can call upon during busy periods or when you’re looking to fill long-term positions.
5. Harness the power of the Internet.
The Internet makes it possible for entrepreneurs to market their products around the world. It also allows businesses to operate without a brick-and-mortar storefront. Although setting up a website and engaging the public on social media outlets used to be intimidating, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to quickly create an online presence.
6. Find ways to cross-promote your products.
There are dozens of businesses in related industries that offer products and services that will complement your offerings. Look for ways to team up with these companies to cross-promote your products and reach an even wider audience. Doing so will not only expose your business to a whole new set of customers, but it will also give your existing customers added value by meeting their needs in an efficient way.
Think outside the box to develop cross-marketing opportunities. For example, if you sell health products, you could seek out a spa or health club to help build your business.
7. Expand your target markets.
Find ways to expand your target market to generate more sales. If you cater to college students, for example, you could look for ways to reach high school students. If your target market is stay-at-home moms, you could think of ways to alter your product to appeal to working moms. If your product is retail oriented, consider becoming a wholesale distributor to allow retail establishments the opportunity to sell your line.
8. Use creative marketing tactics.
Discover new and creative opportunities to market your products and/or services. One way to do this is to join your local chamber of commerce and volunteer to speak at the next chamber meeting. You can also use online newsletters to maintain communication with your customers. Setting one up is quick and easy, and the analytics that accompany the e-newsletter are dynamic and provide valuable feedback about your online marketing efforts.
If you want to take your business to the next level of success, you must be willing to progress slowly through expansion. Trying to rush into growth can end up causing your business to flounder.