Growing Your (Small) Business

Recently I was led to an excellent article on LinkedIn called “5 Ideas to Stay Motivated in Your Work At Home Business” written by Vladimir Ninov (link to his LinkedIn profile) and contributed a comment to a well written article.

Mohamed BhimjiThere were two points made in the article that made sense for offline businesses, and the example that I had provided in my comment on the article was that of a laundromat. But you can easily take small (incremental) ideas and expand them to other types of businesses. These incremental ideas lead to bigger ideas and help grow your business. As a business owner perhaps you are not looking to run dozens of locations and are satisfied with one – but growth doesn’t always mean more locations – growth also means greater profits.

Here is another idea that I had given to a local businessman. He had a truck, and advertised on Craigslist and a few other sites his junk removal business. It was the least expensive and in fact said that if I were willing to help he would charge less (saves him from calling a friend to help, and paying him in pizza and beer which ultimately would result in $0 profit from my “order”). I didn’t really need junk removed, but some furniture taken to someones home.

I needed to get rid of old furniture because I bought something new, and the retail outlet I bought the furniture from didn’t have a take-away service or delivery service. So I was stuck with a small home filled with furniture that I could never use.

Once we had moved the old furniture to where it was to go, we got to talking and I found out a lot about him: he quit his job as a welder so he could work for himself, he’d been running his business for a few years on/off and now wanted to concentrate on growing it. Right away I made a suggestion to him: talk to local furniture stores (both large national and smaller merchants) and offer his services to them — not to deliver, but to pick-up and dispose!

This is one conundrum most homeowners face, they are buying new furniture but need to get rid of the old stuff. Sometimes it can’t be donated, and if they chose to discard it they need to arrange with someone else to come by and pick it up. If he is able to team-up with local furniture stores (or anyone that is in the service delivery business that does not want to deal with taking away old items) he can provide a superb value added service: homeowner gets new furniture, on the same day and potentially same time he takes away the old furniture (or whatever the item is).

Win-win-win for everyone.

The retail outlet can offer a value-added service, the delivery team doesn’t have to deal with moving the old item(s) into a garage or elsewhere (so they can get onto their next delivery) and the homeowner gets everything taken care of in one shot — no waiting or figuring out what to do with items that will be disposed of.

Regardless of the type of business you run there may be small incremental changes that you can make to help grow your business (either in terms of size or revenue). The changes you introduce should be complimentary – like offering dry cleaning services if you are a laundromat, or offering pop/snacks to your captive audience (who may have brought their kids with them). Make use of Google or other search services to see what other businesses are doing and see what you can use in your own.

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