In this article, I’m going to cover easy ways to grow a business without marketing.
So, you’ve survived the initial terrifying, exhilarating and rewarding start-up phase, and you are looking to expand. The chances are that when you first started, there was an avalanche of information at your fingertips, you sought advice from successful business owners, read ‘The Lean Start Up’ and invested countless hours, pounds and tears into building an idea into a business. And now it’s time to grow; it can be incredibly bewildering to decide the next steps that you should take; there are numerous options and possibilities out there. Ultimately, the type of business you run, the resources you have available and the personal time, money and energy that you are willing to sacrifice…again.
We have outlined 5 of the routes for expansion that you could take.
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Ways To Grow A Business Without Marketing
Diversifying your business works well as a strategy for growth because it provides you with multiple avenues of income. You often see these avenues filling in potential seasonal voids, as well as increasing profit margins and sales.
Some examples of the ways of the ways that you can do this is by:
- Selling products or services that complement your existing offering
- Import or Export products (yours or others)
- Becoming a paid expert speaker or writer
Selling complementary goods or services is the most popular way of building and expanding a brand. Rolling out new lines that sit in the brands niche and values works to broaden a target audience and increase a brand’s presence in the market. This makes a business far more credible to large retailers or future potential investors.
Merger or Acquisition
It’s a surprising fact, but many individuals are often confused about the difference between a merger and acquisition. A merge is the coming together to 2 previously separate companies to create a new business. An acquisition is a takeover or buyout from one business, of the other.
There are numerous benefits to either of these routes, often diversification or the melding of industries is one of them. For instance, a business specialising in telecommunications could move into the complementary realm of IT support.
Acquiring or merging companies provide you with a far wider customer base. During this time of upheaval, you may find that you will need to plough your efforts into building relationships with these clients to soothe any concerns that may arise. By nurturing these relationships and opening the lines of communication, you should expect to retain a significant percentage of customers.
Again, by expanding a business in this way, you can take advantage of talent within a business. This often has an impact on an existing team, providing a fresh injection of inspiration and motivation. Of course, there may be staff that may need a little TLC as often the process of 2 businesses coming together can be met with uncertainty. However, as with most things in life, communication, honesty and gratification go a long way.
Enter New Markets
If your current market is performing well, it would be a wise move to test new ones, especially in today’s highly competitive markets.
If you are worried about the risk of entering a new market, you aren’t alone here. Expanding in this way can be just as daunting as the initial start-up phase. However, there are ways to calculate the risk involved.
“Regardless of the industry, your organisation operates, you need to make important decisions regarding capital expenditures. In today’s pace that business environment evolves, it is more than obvious that you need to perform the financial feasibility studies in the most reliable and quickest way.” DataPartner explains, “The tools for facilitating your investment and valuation analysis is one solution. However, being proficient in performing the analysis is a skill that does not come automatically. This is why we offer a range of services that help you develop the organized way of cash-flow modelling.”
If you are providing a product or service to a particular age range, then sit down and look at where they spend their time. Be imaginative, could you take your offerings to places of education or a work environment. Or if it’s how they spend their free time that is of interest to you, offering discounts to clubs of special interest or working in a charitable way can increase brand awareness.
Look to Secure Council or Government Contracts
One of the main advantages of winning a large contract such as these is the security that the contract offers. By laying a solid foundation with a council contract you have a guaranteed income, allowing you to explore riskier ventures. These types of contracts also create an aura of trust, making it easier to secure further contracts with other councils and large bodies.
An excellent example of this is Acorn Dairy. A family run dairy business started in 2000; they saw the opportunity to secure a council contract 4 years later with Darlington Borough Council. The contract would see a dairy business supplying milk to local schools, leisure facilities and nursing homes.
“We tended to it along with everyone else. At the time, there was an appetite for high-welfare food, so we put up an excellent tender because we are an organic dairy right on the council’s doorstep,” says Caroline Bell, operations director of Acorn Dairy. “Being a local business was a key factor.”
After winning the contract, they have not only retained it but have used it as an accelerator to expand into other regions. They now count Newcastle City Council, Waitrose and Morrison’s among their customers.
Using the Government Contract Finder to find opportunities near you. In Australia, they also have a similar service called Aus Tender. If you know similar services in the US, Canada or your regin please leave them below in the comments, and we will add them to this article.
Franchise Your Business
Franchising your business is an effective vehicle for expansion. The ownership is primarily on the induvial operating the brand in their own territory; by franchising, you are expanding without the risk of debt as the franchisees are the ones providing the initial investment. The franchise model also serves well to invoke a maintained spirit of motivation as the franchisee has an investment in the business and collects a portion of the profits. They have a significant reason to ensure that the firm is performing well.
Franchising often provides a fast route to growth with little input from the business owner. The franchise owner does much of the legwork, allowing the franchisor to offer guidance while leveraging finances and resources.
Before you move forward, you need to be confident that your business is ‘franchisable’. The business should be credible, with a knowledgeable team and a proven track record, and hopefully – great brand awareness.
It should also be unique, with a sustainable competitive advantage! It’s advisable that all operating systems in place could be learnt within 3 months. Is the ROI adequate? The royalty deducted by a franchisor is usually between 4-8%; to keep a franchisee happy the business should be providing a return of 15-20%.
If you can provide positive responses to these criteria, then franchising your business might be the road to expanding your business. Legal documentation is required, so drawing up contracts with a commercial solicitor should be your next step.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and there are other avenues for growth that should be considered and explored. Not all types of growth will be right for your business, and extensive research should be carried out to ensure not only that the route is plausible, but that you have the resources and finances to pursue it. Looking at industry trends and speaking to business consultants and auditing competitors will give you valuable insights. Of course, there is assumed the risk that comes with business growth, but there is also great benefits and rewards.