Looking to expand your business? Check out these practical tips from some of Australia's most successful entrepreneurs.
Lifehacker's Supporting Small Business series, brought to you by Bankwest, provides expert tips and helpful advice on how to effectively manage day-to-day tasks and grow your business. For more free online tips, tools and calculators for business owners, visit Bankwest's dedicated Small Business website.
We've gathered these ideas from our weekly Elevator Pitch column, where we regularly ask: What strategies are you using to grow your business? These are some of the best answers.
Set daily targets for expansion
Giving yourself a daily goal to add new suppliers or customers makes it part of your ongoing business process. That's the approach adopted by Rod Bishop from Jayride, which helps passengers book airport shuttle transfers:
The strategy for Jayride is that every day we reach out to great new transport suppliers, in country after country. That's how we grow around the world.
Understand how financing impacts your plans
Sources of finance will impact how and when you grow. Tom Davies from Chappelli Cycles explains how that worked for his firm:
Chappelli Cycles is self-funded, which has had a major impact on the way we have grown the business. It has meant our growth has been slow and steady, with every investment decision carefully weighed up against other opportunities. Although we have doubled our revenues every year since inception, we are still often unable to meet demand due to lack of inventory, particularly for new models. Like any physical goods retail business it is very cash-flow intensive and we need to purchase inventory months before we sell it without knowing how well it will sell.
Having the right approach to expanding your product lines is also crucial, as Andrew Lee from fitness supplier The WOD Life found:
Investing in the right mix of key products early on provided a solid foundation for our business. We have reinvested our cash flow, 80 per cent geared towards our core offering and 20 per cent to new products and growth opportunities. Through this, we have been able to build our range from our initial sole product to over 500 lines in less than 12 months.
Promote yourself everywhere you can
You want your company and product mentioned as often as possible, both online and in more traditional media. Brad Thomas from video sharing platform Vindl explains:
If you can't generate conversation around your product, no amount of promotion will save you. The more times you can get your company name in front of people the better. Whilst we don't place as much value on traditional media as we do on more contemporary mediums (blogs, tech websites, social media presence), it's still a valuable part of our approach to generating growth.
Don't underestimate the value of word-of-mouth
If your product fills a genuine need, then existing customers will often be your biggest source of growth, as Basil Shakra from Mac software developer Bee discovered:
To date, I've relied on word-of-mouth. The development community is very well connected and incredibly vocal when they find a product they love, so it has grown thanks to tweets and recommendations.
The same approach worked for George Hartley from online art platform Bluethumb:
We try and build the best product, something that is so useful to our artists and collectors that they spread the word for us. And to build a useful product we listen to our artists and art buyers. We have a strong focus on useable tech, and aim to consistently improve it.
Mix your marketing strategies
It doesn't make sense to put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Joel Macdonald from alcohol delivery service Liquorun has a mixed approach:
We are currently testing out a lot of different mediums. We are having great traction with Facebook, Google AdWords and offline print (posters, flyers and fridge magnets).
Seeds picture from Shutterstock
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