When you’re launching your business, expansion may not even be on the radar. It’s consuming (and exciting) enough to be living your dream, landing new clients, seeing inventory fly out the door. But at some point customers may begin asking for additional products. Or you may find sales stagnant at a certain level. Yet you’re not ready to hire a sales force. What’s the answer?
Ingenuity. There are numerous ways to create additional revenue streams without compromising profitability — or your peace of mind.
1. Consider the obvious. Sometimes what’s right under your nose (or under foot) can become a lucrative business venture. That’s how a former landscaper started his burgeoning poop scoop business. When he wearied of removing dog waste from customers’ lawns, he painted his truck with a giant Dalmatian and attached a car magnet with his contact information. Without advertising, this “mobile billboard” helped turn a former business annoyance into a successful new enterprise. The landscaper phased out his seasonal business in favor of one that’s easier, perennial, and more profitable.
2. Diversify. Customers have become attuned to “one-stop shopping”: they appreciate being able to buy related items without making another trip. So if you’ve hit on a successful idea with a store that sells socks of every description, for example, think about adding pantyhose. Or activewear. Figure out what complements your product line and will increase customer appeal — and purchases.
3. Favor the loyal. Bookstores do it. So do craft shops and car washes. Boost business by giving regular customers a discount, such as one free item for every ten they buy. A punch card is one way to do this. Or create a colorful vinyl banner for your store window or interior: “Buy 10, get one FREE!”
4. Sign up! Plant yard signs to attract foot traffic. With an appealing logo and catchphrase, it may be just the incentive potential customers need to step inside.
5. Find a buddy. Cross-promote with complementary businesses. For example: a health club may be interested in carrying your line of workout togs in exchange for member discounts on your products. You can also offer a club day pass to anyone who buys your merchandise.