As your business grows, there may come a time when you want to branch out and find new markets. Below are ways you can expand the market of your small business:
1. Embrace the Web
If you are not yet on the Web and you are looking for a new market, try selling on the Web. Products that do well on the Web include digital products (e.g. software and information); products with a high value relative to their cost of fulfillment; products requiring a lot of information (e.g. books, music, travel products); products that do not need to be tried on or handled; and products that are difficult to find locally.
Read the article 15 Basic Steps to Starting an Online Store
The global marketplace can offer your small business opportunities to expand sales and increase profits. Exporting, however, is a different ballgame and presents a whole new set of challenges. It is advised that you first prepare an international business plan to help you identify the process of exporting your product to the global market. Your plan must identify your products with the most international potential; select the best country to export your products, the economic fundamentals of the selected countries, etc. This will also enable you to conduct an in-depth analysis of your readiness to export.
An excellent resource for starting on the export business, including regulations and guidelines, is the Department of Commerce’s Export.gov http://export.gov/
Read the article How Your Small Business can Enter the International Market
3. Sell to Government
One area often overlooked by small businesses is government purchasing. The government spends billions of dollars every year on goods and services, ranging from paper clips to translation services to space vehicles.
Selling to government does not only mean Uncle Sam: you have opportunities coming from the state and local government agencies. While small fry compared to the federal government, dealing with state and local procurement can serve as your training ground in dealing with the government. You oftentimes need a solid track record as a government supplier before the federal government
The Federal Business Opportunities ( http://www.fedbizopps.gov ) is an excellent resource for learning about all of the markets that exist within the federal procurement system.
Read the article Doing Business with the Government
4. Refer your customers
If you are swamped with customers, start leveraging your business’ popularity and begin referring customers to your competitors for a fee! Arrange a deal with your competitors, particularly the start-ups, where they pay you a small referral fee for every customer that you send their way. This is a win-win situation for both of you: you earn additional income and remain in the good graces of your customers, while your competitors save on marketing expense.
Read the article Use Social Trends to Find Market Opportunities in Business
5. License or offer a franchise
Let others carry your business in other geographical locations. By franchising your business, you can expand your business and reach new markets without expanding your space. However, make sure that you have professionals (e.g. lawyers and accountants) working with you, as franchising your business can be an arduous task. You need to do a lot of paperwork, plus you need to deal with the regulatory bodies of each state that you plan to operate.
Read the article How to Franchise Your Business
Other Recommended Readings:
- Top 10 Growing Markets for Small Businesses
- Top 10 Growing Markets for Small Businesses (Part 2)
- 10 Profitable Home Business Niche Ideas
- Prison: A Captive Market for Small Businesses
- Growing Market for Small Businesses: The Non-Profit Sector
Recommended Books on How to Expand the Market of Your Small Business:
- Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots
- How to Market to People Not Like You: “Know It or Blow It” Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers
- Doing Business In China: How to Profit in the World’s Fastest Growing Market
- Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant