When you first started your business, you probably did a lot of research, sought help from advisors; sourced information from books, magazines, and other readily available sources. Probably invested a lot of money, time and sweat equity to get your business off the ground. Its 12 months on, now what?

For entrepreneurs who have survived the startup stage and built successful businesses, it may be a bit fuzzy trying to figure out how to take the next step and grow their business beyond its current status. Don’t let this freak you out, there are numerous possibilities out there, and if you’re ready to grow, we’re ready to help.

We found 10 ways to help your business grow by business editor Karen E. Spaeder Choosing the proper one(s) for your business will depend on the type of business you own, available resources, and how much money, time and sweat equity you’re willing to invest all over again.

  • There must be an intention for expansion. This might not be your best choice, but it’s listed first here because that’s what often comes to mind first for so many entrepreneurs as the business grows.
  • Ensure that you’re maintaining a consistent bottom-line profit and that you’ve shown steady growth over the past few years.
  • Look at the trends, both economic and consumer, for indications on your company’s staying power.
  • Make sure your administrative systems and management team are extraordinary-you’ll need them to get a new location up and running.
  • Learn to outsource some of your operations so as to increase your efficiency of operation. But, be a leader who knows how to keep the key vision in focus at all times.
  • Place a license on your product. This is the best way to minimize the risk of losing control of your service or product or creating room for vicious competitors.
  • Aligning with a similar type of business can be a potent way to expand rapidly. If you want to keep all the money to yourself, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. You need to align with other businesses that already have lists of prospective customers. It’s the fastest way to success.
  • Diversifying is also an excellent growth strategy. It allows one to have multiple streams of income that can often fill seasonal voids and, of course, increase sales and profit margins.
  • Also, it is necessary to target government contracts. The U.S. government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, with total procurement dollars could reach $1 trillion in years to come.
  • Merge with the internet. Bill Gates said that by the end of 2002, there will be only two kinds of businesses: those with an Internet presence, and those with no business at all

Applying these guidelines will help you pull your business to the next stage.

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