Learning how to grow your business in a country like ours isn’t just a worthy goal; growing your business is often a necessity for your business’ survival and your economic well-being.
What can you do to get your business beyond the bare sustenance level? What can you do to turn it into the income-generating powerhouse you envision? Try one or more of these growth strategies that are particularly effective for the Nigerian business terrain. All have been successfully used by some Nigerian businesses and, with some planning and investment, will work for you.
1. Penetrate your existing market
When you think about how to grow your business, the first thing that probably comes to mind is getting new customers. But the customers you already have are your best bet for increasing your sales; it’s easier and more cost-effective to get people who are already buying from you to buy more than to find new customers and persuade them to buy from you.
2. Ask for referrals
That’s not to say that getting new customers is a bad approach. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your current customers for referrals. But notice the verb. Having good products and great customer service and just assuming that your customers are passing the word about your business isn’t going to do much to increase your customer base; you have to actively seek referrals.
During or after every job or sale, ask your satisfied customer if he knows anyone else who would be interested in your products or services.
3. Innovate your product or service
Discovering and promoting new uses for your products or services is a great way to both get existing customers to buy more and attract new customers. Think of new ideas that can come out of your product/service. What other purpose can your product/service service? By being innovative, you stand out from competitors.
4. Extend your market reach
There are several ways of growing your business by making your product or service available to a new pool of customers.
The most obvious is to open stores in new locations, such as opening a store or kiosk in a new town. New locations can also be virtual, such as a website with an online store, this will help grow your business online. Another approach is to extend your reach through advertising. Once you’ve identified a new market, you might advertise in select media that targets that market. If your new market consists of a younger demographic, you may want to use social media for advertising.
5. Conquer a niche market.
Remember the analogy of the big fish in the small pond? That’s essentially how this strategy for growing your business works. The niche market is the pond; a narrowly defined group of customers. Think of them as a subset whose needs are not being met and concentrate on meeting those unmet needs.
6. Diversify your products or services.
The key to successful growth through diversification is similarity. You want to focus on the related needs of your already established market or on market segments with similar needs and characteristics.
An artist might also sell frames and framing services, for instance. Or a shoe maker business might move from just fixing shoes and selling.
The stories of entrepreneurs who have become both well known and well heeled due to franchising their small businesses are legion – and not just stories. If you have a successful business and can develop a system that ensures that others can duplicate your success, franchising may be the fast track for growing your business.
Expanding into international markets can also be a powerful boost to your business’s bottom line. Like franchising, this is a way of growing your business that requires quite a commitment of time and resources, but can be extremely rewarding.
9 Steps To Venturing Into Import/Export Business in Nigeria outlines the process of getting into exporting if this way of growing your business interests you.
Time to Grow
There you have it; how to grow your business. Don’t let this list overwhelm you; pick one or two of these ideas that are suitable to your business and your circumstances and get your plan for growing your business underway.
While you probably won’t experience growth right away, whichever way of expanding your business you choose, you will see progress if you keep at it.
Share your thoughts!