Before You Say It Is Tough, Read These 7 Ways To Grow Your Business

In this age where start-ups pop up every other day, the idea of finally becoming your own boss and setting up your own company is no longer a faraway dream.

In fact, with Singapore being one of the best countries in the world to set up your own company, you can be sure that the adventurous and risk-taking amongst us will see little harm in trying to strike it out on our own.

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The important thing is not about starting out. It's about thriving and growing. With new ideas abound and competition staring you in the face everyday, it's about how fast the company can grow that will ultimately determine its survival.

Why Expanding is Important

A company can easily be profitable, given that in this day and age you may not even need a huge start-up cost with a whole lot of what you need being in the virtual space. But being profitable and growing the company is not the same.

Think about a man who developed a marketing software which proved to be successful in the first 2 years. He managed to get a few key clients, made some money but by year 3, the company starts to stagnate.

New competitors, manpower shortage and lack of networking has impended company growth. If you are an investor, are you going to invest in this firm?

Greater returns and probability of longer-term success are just two of the many reasons why companies need to grow fast.

7 Ways To Grow Your Company Fast

Depending on the type of business, growth comes in different ways. We present some growth strategies below for companies which recognise the need to grow fast or die slowly in today's changing marketplace:

1. Physical expansion - This is a very common way for companies to grow, especially for brick and mortar stores. However, this way of expansion usually involves high costs and requires huge capital. A business owner may consider financing as a way to power the company forward if its initial outlet has made great progress.

If the company already has an established presence in the country, they may even consider listing the company. One such example is Breadtalk group, which opened a bakery chain of more than 20 outlets in a short span of 3 years and gown on to move into other food businesses.

As part of expansion, companies may also consider setting up a franchising agreement with entrepreneurs that are looking to set up shop. This reduces start-up costs for both sides and is in both parties' favour to make the business a success.

2. Forming partnerships - Partnerships and network is vital in every business. Creating a barter or alliance with a related business not only opens your business to more audience, it creates a win-win situation for both parties as well.

Look around and you'll spot many of these – Fitness ration's partnership with gyms and sports studios in Singapore for clients to pick up their food delivery, credit card discounts with selected merchants or perhaps a cafe providing coffee for a bakery?

3. Diversify the business – There are many compelling reasons for diversifying a business, one of which is to spread the risk, and the other, to receive multiple streams of income.

This is a great strategy for those operating in a saturated market and are looking for new ways to grow their business. Some of the biggest companies in the world probably owns more varied businesses than you think.

4. Target other markets – Typically with a small home market like Singapore, business owners look to other markets to increase their customers. It is not uncommon to target the surrounding region that has so much growth potential.

For instance, local frozen yogurt brand Berrylite is working to capitalise on India's growing demand for healthier desserts by setting up its first frozen yogurt store there.

5. Taking your business online – E-commerce is so common in Singapore that we mostly do not think much about it. Traditional brick-and-mortar companies that has taken their businesses online will however, have a different story to tell.

Take for instance, the case of FarEastFlora.com. In 2000, they set up a website to sell flowers, gifts and hampers online. In the last 15 years, online sales have grown to over 50% today.

With an online business, you literally increases your business' “opening hours” to 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. It also brings convenience to customers who may only be available to shop after work, and brings you international clients as well.

Couple your e-commerce strategy with social selling or online marketing can allow you to scale your business efficiently with a relatively small costs.

6. Winning a government contract – you should have heard of the GeBiz if you are a local business. GeBIZ is a public eProcurement business centre where suppliers can bid to provides services to the Singapore government.

Suppliers can search for government procurement opportunities and submit their bids and relevant documents online. Local companies looking to grow their business and build their client portfolio may want to consider this opportunity.

7. Using technology to improve business processes – there are many ways in which technology can help business to grow, cut costs and improve productivity and efficiency. From inventory management to process automation, you might be amazed by the numbers when you see how technology can help scale a business effectively.

Take for instance the example of home-grown popiah brand Mr Popiah. Started as a popiah stall, the founders took the bold step to set up a factory to manufacture popiah skins and popiah ingredients.

Before they were able to automate the popiah-skin making process, they could only produce 100 popiah skin by hand per hour. With the help of government funding and the acquisition of machinery, they were able to produce 800 popiah skin per hour, with a production capability increment by 8 times.

With their increased production capacity, it also helped them to launch their catering business, as they are confident of the production capability to fulfil more orders.

If you are a new entrepreneur, start thinking ahead about growing your company, for growth might be more important than profitability for the longer term sustainability of your business.