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Lifecycle Business Series: 4. Expanding your business

By Ignus K

Mpho never imagined that her virtual property management and rental web application would grow and develop so quickly. For the past four years, she has refined the service offering and is dominating the market in her town. Her finance and business development teams have ‘crunched the numbers’ and they all agree that it is time to take the App national. Mpho has reached the ‘expansion’ phase of her business’ lifecycle. What she be looking out for?

As your business prospers through growth you may be driven expand your business. Building and maintaining your local customer base may be the first step on the road to success, but having growth potential and expanding your market footprint is a significant skill few achieve successfully. Your company’s vision should guide and align every decision and facet of your business, well before a growth strategy has been defined and expansion plans activated.

When the time for expansion eventually arrives – whether through increasing the number of revenue streams, number of products and customer segments, or expanding into new geographical locations – your ultimate objective should be to build a business model that can withstand economic downturns and adapt to market trends and predict changing business environments.

If geographical expansion is a key route to drive your growth, be ready for the potentially different challenges presented by new geographies. Geographical expansion requires a strong understanding of the market, customers and forecast of demands, so be sure to have an innate understanding before expanding.

Once a business grows and scales up, be diligent in building in-house capacities and resources. In assessing your resources for expansion, be realistic about the effort and cost and potential returns, and always keep an expert eye on how expansion might impact the current quality of service you provide your existing customers.

Remember, while having a successful business model behind you is undoubtedly an advantage, it is not a guarantee that it will work elsewhere within other markets, or that new offerings will result in the same success. The business landscape is littered with companies that took on too much and failed. Indeed, your mission you should use the tools and expert assistance at your disposal to measure your risk and secure the company for all eventualities.

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