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If you are looking to grow your small business, you have likely experienced some significant profit and customer appreciation. This is very exciting, as it shows that your business produces something valuable and desirable and that you have an opportunity to reap in even more success. However, the process of expanding a business is often a bit tricky. Understanding the risks and taking the necessary steps before undertaking the endeavor of business growth is important for achieving success. Below are a few things to consider when you want to expand your small business.

Customer Relations
Your customers are the primary cause of your business’ growth, and because of their significance, you should invest in their opinions and feedback as you prepare to expand. Small businesses have an advantage in that they are more often able to communicate directly and personally with their clientele; reaching out to existing customers to learn what they like and what they wish would improve can be key to growing in positive ways for your business and your customers. Ensuring that your relationships with your customers are personal, honest, and considerate will help foster meaningful interactions and encourage repeated patronage.

While existing customers are an important element in your success and growth, you should also devote time to seeking out new customers. Conducting a market analysis to identify potential customers, and assessing common traits such as geographic location, preferred social media platforms, and place of employment can help you focus on a target audience and expand your customer pool.

Online Presence
If you are aiming to draw in more customers and increase your profits, you will want to seriously consider revamping any existing online properties (like a business website) and utilizing social media profiles to reach a wider audience. In this day and age, having an aesthetically-pleasing and functional website is a necessity; losing potential customers because your website doesn’t load quickly enough or because the information is outdated is a poor way to start the growth process.

Creating or making better use of social media profiles can improve your engagement with existing and potential customers. Small businesses actually have a significant advantage when it comes to social media marketing; because small businesses are more community-oriented, they can garner more genuine engagement from internet users, and using social media is effectively a means of advertising with no monetary cost from your business. Making use of the free tools at your disposal will be crucial for expanding your business and cultivating more engagement and interest with customers.

Financial Research
Conducting research regarding your business’ financial standing as well as your prospects. Money is obviously integral to growing your business, so before you do anything, you’ll want to thoroughly look into what options are available. There are a number of options that may not be widely known, such as loans backed by the Small Business Administration, that you should consider. Regardless of what you ultimately choose as your primary source of funding, you should consult a financial advisor or banker to get more information.

In addition to researching your financial options, you should also assess your business’ progress so far. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and profit patterns. When you make a plan for your business’ growth, be sure to play on your strengths and work to address any weaknesses in your process. Many industries experience some sort of seasonal shift due to certain factors, so plan to account for those discrepancies, as well. It is better to devote a considerable amount of time to this part of the growth process rather than be side-swept by issues that arise later on.

Expanding your business can be thrilling and nerve-wracking; there are a number of risks that present themselves during the process. However, if you take the appropriate steps to prepare and account for the possibilities of both positive outcomes and negative obstacles, the process of business growth will be easier and more successful.