You have conquered one of the biggest hurdles when you started your brick-and-mortar business.
Taking that first step in business is one of the hardest. You have invested time and money to kickstart your business. You have a product or service. You had some success and you have managed to get some customers.
So, what comes next?
Your business is off to a start, but you may be wondering what you can do to grow your brick-and-mortar business above and beyond where it is today.
4 Ways to Grow Your Brick and Mortar Business
Here are 4 great ways to grow your brick and mortar business. Leave a comment below as to what you think.
1. Should You Open a Second Location?
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, the first thing you might think of is to open another location.
A second location sounds great, but it requires a lot of capital you might not have. A second location also puts a lot more pressure on you because all of a sudden you have twice the stress in your life.
You can grow your brick-and-mortar business several ways without opening a second location:
- Do what’s hard to do. Many small businesses use the “I am a small business card”. I am too small to do this or that. If you want to sell more you have to stand out more. Be willing to work harder and be more creative than your competition.
- Most brick-and-mortar businesses compete with online shops. Do what online shops can’t do. Focus on the touch and feel of the product. Emphasize the personal attention to the customer.
- Organize events to attract more people to your business.
- Create a different customer experience. Make the shopping experience more unique than at competing stores.
- Pay attention to details. The smallest details can have big impact on the customer experience. It makes sense to sweat the small stuff.
- Research your competition. You can learn more from your competition than any business guru. Find out how they sell and what they sell. Learn what their customers think about them. Research what their customers like and dislike about your competitors.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Offer limited time offers.
- Organize a class or a demonstration where you teach your customers.
2. Franchise Your Business
An alternative to a second location is offer your business as a franchise opportunity.
This means that other people can buy a piece of their business as their own while you are still the owner of the brand. Many people seek the franchise option instead of starting a business from scratch because they want a working system.
Essentially, a franchise business is a working system. It is a win-win for the franchiser and the franchisee.
You might ask yourself. Should I franchise my business?
Here are the most common reasons entrepreneurs franchise:
- Lack of money – When you franchise your business you can grow your brand with minimal financial risk. It isn’t you but the franchisee who signs the lease on the new location, hires the employees, and buys equipment, etc.
- People – Hiring the right people is tough and retaining them is even tougher. The franchise is an owner in the business. The ownership in the business is a great motivator.
- Time – Starting a business is very time-consuming. When you franchise your business you don’t have to spend time to find your next location or hire new staff. It’s all done by the franchise.
Companies that want to grow fast, the franchise option is a possible option. Once you put the system in place, the franchise can run with it.
Is Your Business Ready to Become a Franchise?
- Is your company built on systems? If you run your business by the seat of your pants, you are not quite ready to build a franchise. Systems are a must. Systems are the reasons franchises pay you the big bucks.
- Does your company have a competitive advantage? Do you have the resources and capabilities that give you an advantage over the competition? A competitive advantage should be something that is rare and difficult to copy or imitate.
- Can people easily learn it? Franchises want to be able to fairly easily learn what it takes to run the business. If it takes too long to learn, they will give up or never even try. The franchise must be able to learn the business within a few months.
- Can the business make a profit? Money is not the only reason people start a business. If the business is unable to generate enough profit, the franchise will fail. As a result your franchise business will fail too.
3. Can You License it?
If you have a product business, licensing is a great option. Once you do this, you will be able to earn monies and royalties for use of your product. It will also minimize risk and is a lower cost than scaling your company and jumping right in to produce and sell your product or brand.
The best way to license your products is to form an alliance. Look for companies that are currently licensing products similar to yours.
Before you jump into a licensing deal consider the following:
- Become an expert in your niche before you try to license your product. Who is your competition? What makes your product better than the competing product?
- Have realistic expectations about entering a licensing deal. Read books on the topic. Talk to entrepreneurs who have done licensing deals.
- Be prepared. Have your facts ready when you meet with a potential partner. Create a short presentation to present the facts about your product.
- Protect your product with patents. Licensing partners want intellectual property protections. Work with an IP attorney to make sure your patent is filed correctly.
- Do your homework on the potential partner. You don’t want any surprises about your partner. Find out about their reputation. Find companies that have done licensing deals with them. Watch out for red flags.
- Expect a No. A no is an opportunity to find the right partner. It might also be the right opportunity to improve your product.
- Multiple deals. Work with multiple potential partners simultaneously. Having options gives you the upper hand.
4. Step up Your Online Marketing
Yes, that’s right, your brick-and-mortar business could really take off with online marketing.
There are countless online marketing options for your business, here are some of the most common ones:
- Local SEO – You can rule your area if you can step up your local SEO.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – While Google Adwords might be too expensive for many businesses, there are many alternatives such as Facebook, Twitter, or Bing advertising.
- Get reviewed. Encourage your customers to review your business on places like Yelp. Good reviews not only help you look good, but will drive new customers to your business. Bad reviews help you because they give you a chance to respond to them and improve your business.
- Use free marketplaces like Craigslist. More than 60 million people do about 50 billion page views per month.
- Go mobile. Advertise your business on mobile devices. According to Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans now own a smartphone. 85% of young adults are smartphone owners.
- Grow your email list. Chain restaurants do an excellent job getting their customers to sign up for their email alerts. They offer coupons, discounts, and other incentives to encourage customers to sign up. The best time to get people to sign up is at the point of sale.
- List your business in niche directories.
- Create local landing pages. If you serve three cities, have a separate landing page for each location.
- Create Facebook offers. They are different from Facebook ads, they are more like coupons.
- Make videos of your products or how your customers use your products. Then, create your own YouTube channel.
Thanks for checking out this article on some sure-fire ways to grow your business.
Do you have anything to add? Leave a comment below.