To wrap up the development series, we’d be looking at Expansion.
So, at this point, I believe we’ve all proven that our Start-up/business is scalable…yeah?
Having established this, let’s see how we can expand our startups progressively.
In understanding expansion, one of the major questions we should ask always is, “where do we see this business in the next 5years/10years?”
If you can’t answer this question, it means your business doesn’t have a future yet!
Hence, providing clear answers to the above question would determine how you run your day to day operations and what milestone/goal to set. This is why companies write vision and mission statements.
What does business Expansion really mean?
When a business is expanding, it means they are exploring new markets, developing new products and/or increasing their production/delivery capacity, to meet market demands. At the bottom line of Expansion, is an increase in capacity and market share.
Steps to take when planning to Expand your business
1. Start with the end in mind.
You must have a clear vision for your Business. Your vision is the big picture….that “impossible” solution/value your brand wants to bring to the world.
This forms the passion and commitment of your entire team.
This is the reason they come to work every day (outside their salaries).
Your mission is how you intend to achieve the vision. It’s more specific about activities.
Here is a quick exercise…
a. Take out 10mins to think of the particular thing your business could achieve and you would say she has achieved her purpose.
Continue to redefine it on paper till it’s simple and easy to understand.
b. Now, think of the major activity that can help your business achieve that objective.
Continue to modify it on paper until it’s simple and easy to understand.
Write the first as your vision statement and the 2nd as your mission statement
2. Set up a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
This will be the template upon which all your operations run.
This is your first step towards automation.
In drafting your SOP, you look at factors such as your user journey (i.e the steps it takes to onboard and satisfies a demand…from promotion to sales).
You must identify and record every detail.
How do costumers find you?
How can they access your product?
How do you deliver your product or service? etc.
Once your SOP is ready, identify the areas you can automate and automate them.
3. Ensure that everyone (both team and staff) follows the Standard Operating Procedure(SOP).
In programming, we say “write your codes such that your future self can easily understand”.
This will make it easier for you to replicate the same product/service anywhere.
You can’t expand and maintain the same quality and standard if you don’t have a standard operating procedure.
Many times, this is what separates a successful business from the less successful ones.
At this point, I believe it’s safe to say that investors don’t invest in ideas, they invest in strategies.
That’s where the work lies.
It may take a moment to get an idea, but it takes time to develop a winning strategy.
And when you get it…we can have your brand everywhere in the world, yet standard will be the same.
4.Leverage on Strategic Partnerships.
Identify brands(organizations), individuals, etc. that provides a complimentary service/product to yours and partner with them.
Focus on your strength and share resources with people who have what you need.
This is the fastest way to grow and expand very quickly.
5. Automate and Explore New Markets.
You can’t grow without automation!
How come coca-cola has its product in my village? That’s the power of automation…when you automate, the business can run comfortably without you.
And this is when you can say you have a brand.
Note; the fact that your business has a website doesn’t mean it’s automated.
Automation means your business is ready to be available in different locations “without incurring additional cost”.You need to understand this. KFC fried chicken is available in Nigeria, but the people running it is not the original owners…they are simply running a franchise of KFC fried chicken.
This means they emit a fraction of their profits to KFC in exchange for their brand and recipes. Your website can be a means to automate your business if a customer can access your product or service independently via your website.
So business websites are just serving as a promotion tool.
How do you Explore New markets?
You do so via partnerships and franchise.
You must learn to strategically leverage third-party resources… don’t reinvent the wheel!
Ford Motors was able to commercialize motor cars because he (Henry Ford) automated his car production process by outsourcing different components to different manufacturers.
We cannot overemphasize the power of partnership.
6. Lastly, build a winning team.
Find people who believe in your idea, and are willing to help you bring it to light.
Sometimes, a good(loyal) team are difficult to find.
This is where hubs and Communities come in.
They bring people of like minds together..
You can easily find passionate minds who are ready to change the world.
Hubs and Communities will solve this problem for you. Find a hub or Community to identify with, it’s easier to find teammates there.
You can also take advantage of the University Community closest to you.
That’s one of the easiest places to find volunteers.
So long as they would be able to learn more and build experience from it.
Host a workshop on the campus…and partner with a department or students association or have an office in the school premises.
You can also, support or sponsor an event organized by students and use it as a means to advertise for volunteers.
It’s easier to have student volunteers if your office is close to or inside the school Community.
Growth is systematic… continue adding value and trust the process, sooner or later you will get there.