Have you been wondering about the best way to expand your business? From added locations to franchises or merges, the choices are endless. Let’s break down the most popular ways small business owners expand their reach.

Open Another Location

Opening up a second location seems logical if you’re expanding. But before you decide, look at your bottom line. Have you shown a consistent profit over the last several years? Study economic and consumer trends. Are current trends favorable for adding another location? Prepare a business plan and look at the cost of adding a store. Check out financing options. If everything looks good, then adding a location is the proper choice.

Franchising Your Business

Franchising is another way of expanding your business. You’re not saddled with the entire burden of an added location but before you franchise make sure your business model is can be duplicated. Don’t start franchising without a streamlined business plan for others to follow. Find an attorney experienced in franchising or a successful franchise business owner as a mentor. The franchisees want a good chance of profitability before they sign a contract. Don’t forget, it’s your name on the door if your franchise fails.

Virtual Expansionpexels-photo-838413

Thinking about opening a virtual store? It’s one of the quickest and simplest ways for increasing profits without a lot of upfront cost. But you don’t just put up a website and wait. Crafting a successful website involves time and research. Hire a website designer to perfect your look. If cost is a factor, hire a freelance web designer. They usually charge less but offer an excellent product.

Today, people shop from their computers, smartphones, and tablets. Your website is your storefront. In order for people to take notice, have the content styled for customer interests and include many keywords for people looking for your type of product. Make sure your website accepts all payment types and set up documents for e-signatures when making service contracts. The more user-friendly your website, the more customers will return.

Licensing Your Product

If you sell a highly popular product, think about branding and licensing. This way, others sell your product and pay you royalties without you lifting a finger. Proper licensing might include trademarking and registration, so contact an attorney specializing in intellectual property rights before offering your product for sale to others.

Diversify Your Offerings

Do you concentrate on one particular product or product line? Consider diversifying what you sell as a way of expanding your market. Find a complementary product like fitness equipment to go with a vitamin line. Maybe you specialize in selling winter sports equipment so add summer sports equipment as well. Now you’ve expanded your customer base simply by adding some stock. It’s not nearly as costly as opening a second location but still achieves your goal of a larger market.

Government Contracts

The U.S. government buys more products and services than anyone else in the world. When thinking about vying for a procurement contract, contact the local Small Business Administration (SBA), Service Corps of Retired Executives, or state Economic Development Agency. Those agencies counsel companies about government contracts open for bidding. If you still need help, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the SBA offer matchmaking programs to help you find an open contract. Follow the rules and guidelines in the agency’s Requests for Proposals. The government moves slowly so prepare to wait for a response. Once you secure that first contract, however, you’ll see more requests come your way.

Expanding your business comes from many sources. Some owners find mergers or acquisitions an effective way of growing profits. Choosing your best way involves time and research. Once you decide on your path, it’s always sensible to find a lawyer or mentor who already knows the pitfalls. Plus, there are taxes, equipment costs, and even increased shipping costs to consider. There may be several options for you when expanding your business. So, no matter what direction you head in, try expanding your market reach and you’ll grow your business.