How to expand your business

How to expand your business

Even with Brexit woes, the UK's economy is looking up, so now could be the perfect time for you to expand your business. We've explored some of the more popular expansion methods to help you decide which one could be right for you.

There are a huge variety of ways to go about expansion, each offering its own pros and cons. However, it's important that business owners do their research and make the right decision for them and their company before pushing forward.

Add another location

If you're already established in one location, one way to expand your business is to open a new shop or premises elsewhere. Although physical expansion is not the ideal choice for all companies, it can be a highly lucrative decision for those who are prepared. Important considerations include:

Make sure you've shown steady growth before you consider expansion
Consider the market trends
Consider upgrading your management team
Ensure you have a strong business plan in place
Choose the location most suitable for your business

Merge with another

While potentially the most complicated method of growing your business, merging with another company can prompt the start of a new era of success if done correctly. Typically this process requires significant financial and legal investment, and may involve long delays as the integration is slowly completed. Some of the most common challenges include:

Customer retention: When merging with another firm, you may wish to implement a plan for customer retention to ensure you have an easy step up in success via the merging of both client sets.
Product merging: A merger is a good opportunity to both trim down and boost your product offering. Consider removing any products that aren't achieving good returns in favour of some of the more successful products acquired as part of the merger.
Staff retention: Staff retention is not just about asking the best staff of your new company to stay on or leave the firm. As the new owner of a company you'll be responsible for creating new contracts, new policies, and for putting in place appropriate employers' liability insurance to ensure you're not financially liable should anything go wrong.

Licence your products

A low cost method of expanding your business is to license your products and services, which can provide royalties from the use of your brand, software or services if you're already successful. Licensing can also minimise the risk of growth compared to starting a new company, and so is a good choice for companies hoping to save money.

Commenting on this method, Larry Bennett, director of the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship, said: "You need to be open to growing and expanding your vision, but at the same time, be a strong leader who knows how to keep the key vision in focus at all times."

Diversify

Many businesses hoping to grow will consider diversification, or the exploration of a new area in their current market. Through thorough research, businesses can identify viable areas of the market that are related to or will complement their current business, ensuring your growth transition will be smooth and as simple as possible.

Top methods of targeting a broader audience include online advertising and search engine optimisation techniques, which promote your firm in web searches conducted by potential customers. Social media is also a good channel to utilise during this process as it allows easy advertising of your new products and services to your current followers.