So, you’ve survived start up and your business is not only up and running, but it’s doing pretty well on the books. This means your profit is visible and growing, not just that your turnover is reasonable. Never forget: turnover is for vanity, profit is for sanity.

You’d like to expand the business, but you’re not sure where to go next. It ought to be as simple as a step-by-step pathway but, although the different stages can be written and understood separately, it’s important to understand that some areas are likely to grow faster than others and you will need to ensure that the resources are available for you to be reactive as well as proactive in your pursuit of expansion.

Your physical attributes may have to change to keep up with the rest of the expansion. You’ll inevitably need new staff, and it’s likely you’ll need a bigger base, new offices, new technological equipment, and a good bit of capital to fund it all.

Keep Your Customers Happy
One of the most crucial parts of your business, regardless of your offer, is your customer base. It’s no good having to find customers to replace those who have left because of poor service. That isn’t expansion, it’s treading water. The best kind of business is return trade; every entrepreneur knows that. The only way to obtain that is to consistently exceed your customers’ expectations. They ask you for something and you always give them that little bit extra.

Get the Staffing Right
If you feel at any stage that you could do with more staff, you should respond to that and hire fast. There’s nothing to be gained from forcing your current staff to the line. There’s HR software out there to help you by automating a lot of the personnel tasks that have traditionally bogged down HR officers. Try free and shareware products, read reviews, and find the best for you.

Let the Whole World Know
Building on your amazing service and happy customer base, the next stage is ensuring that the word is out. Social media is the modern equivalent of word of mouth. Expand your online marketing with how great you are – testimonials never go out of fashion as far as new customers are concerned. Viral marketing campaigns, essentially marketing campaigns shared by millions of people, are superb, and clever email marketing also works very well.

Diversify and Improve Your Products and Services
Because you look after your customers well, and your trusted staff ensure that every need is met and everyone keeps coming back, your close customers will look to you for more. Being asked to work on different but related areas of their businesses can lead to natural development of your products or services. Offer these to your main customer base and you’re halfway down the road to expansion.

Pursue both Current and New Market Opportunities
You’ve gained new customers with your viral marketing campaigns and your super satisfied clients. But why do your customers use you? How else can you be useful to them? Who else is similar to them and how could they use you? Keep asking yourself questions. You’re in the thick of the game now and you need to think laterally.

If you can solve their problems for them and find new niches for your business to expand into, then you’re setting yourself up for the future. Not only do you deliver on your brand promise of reliability, but you make it easy for them to do business with you. You’ve got the right staff, the right products, and the right attitude throughout.

Right now, nothing is impossible.