business expansion ideas

By Rieva Lesonsky

I’ll admit it—I’m an excitement junkie. Whether it’s a new idea, a new outfit, a new client or even a new email in my inbox, I feel a little thrill every time something new comes along. If you’re like me, you might be feeling a little bored with your business. Sure, it’s successful enough—but sometimes you miss the roller-coaster ride of startup, don’t you?

Fortunately, the entrepreneur’s innate desire to constantly “shake things up” can be just what a business needs to keep growing. Here are some questions to get you thinking about business expansion (and get you excited about your business again):

1.     Is it time to expand geographically? If your business is doing great in one location, maybe it’s time to expand to two or even consider franchising your operations. Are customers outside your local area asking for your products or services? Test the waters with a second location nearby first.

2.     Is it time to expand demographically? Maybe you started off selling kids’ clothes, but moms love them too. Should you expand into a women’s line? Or if you sell B2B, could a service targeting one type of business also work for another?

3.     Is it time to add products to your services, or vice versa? If you provide pool cleaning services, maybe you could generate extra revenue by also selling do-it-yourself pool care products. If you have a pet store, could you add grooming services at your location?

4.     Is it time to add ecommerce? If you own a brick-and-mortar store, adding an ecommerce element is a great way to expand to attract customers out of your area—or even out of the country. You don’t have to sell your entire product line online, either—starting small enables you to test the waters first before you dive in.

5.     Is it time to add brick-and-mortar? Going the opposite direction, many ecommerce retailers (Warby Parker is just one example) are adding physical stores to successful ecommerce businesses. If your product is one people love to see and touch in person, this could be a smart move for you

6.     Is it time to hire? Sometimes adding new minds to your business can enable you to see things in new ways. Maybe you’re overburdened with day-to-day operations and it’s time to get a key manager in place who can give you more time to work on the big picture.

7.     Is it time to partner up? Creating joint ventures with complementary or related businesses is a great way to expand your reach without investing a lot of money in new infrastructure, people and overhead. Be sure you think the partnership through and use an attorney to craft a joint venture agreement beneficial to both of you.

8.     Is it time to get a group going? Talking to other entrepreneurs can get your creative juices flowing and generate ideas for all of you to build your businesses. If you’re feeling restless, starting a monthly meeting with like-minded business owners is a good way to start shaking things up—and keep yourself accountable for following through.