There are four fundamental ways to grow your business:
Typically people see the order of these growth options above in the order of risk with selling more of the same to the same people as low-risk growth compared to getting into entirely new markets with new products as the high-risk option. I would argue that if your business is on the way out (say you sell typewriter ribbons in Lander), it is riskier to not seek either new products, markets or both.
Before you explore a growth strategy, first analyze what you are currently doing and make sure everything you are doing is working as well and efficiently as possible. You might find you are wasting manufacturing resources on certain products that you could use instead to make more products that are profitable or to make new products. The same goes with your marketing and sales efforts. Are your time and resources being spent going after the wrong market or could they do better reaching existing markets?
Once you are comfortable with your existing business, it is time to plan your business’ growth. We at Wyoming Entrepreneur would highly recommend you have a written plan with some third-party market research to help you make sure the ends justify the means and that you have both the resources to pursue this growth and also so that your existing business isn’t sacrificed in the process. Having your plan in writing and working with other employees and management to develop that plan will help make sure you are all on the same page, you can get the buy in from others ahead of time and they might have ideas you might not have thought of.
Jim Drever is a counselor with the Wyoming SBDC.