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Growth Is Good: 5 Big-Business Growth Strategies That Small Businesses Can Leverage Today

Your business is small, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. Most small businesses stay small because they don’t do any marketing, or they don’t do enough marketing, to insulate themselves from a soft market or a downturn in their industry. You don’t want to be a statistic though. Here are 5 ways 5 big-business growth strategies

Market Segmentation

Own a market segment. This is what big businesses do. Contrary to popular belief, this reduces your risk when the overall economy starts to soften. How? Why? When you carve out a niche, and then sell to it – when you master it and own it – you become the leader in your niche. You will get the last dollars available in that niche every single time. You will be the last to “die” because you are the best there is. That’s a good position to be in. It’s a position that Apple is in right now, for example, and it’s the reason it’s maintained a bank account flush with cash.

Pepsi is also another example of a company that carved out a niche and took ownership of it. It was losing its battle with Coca-Cola until it started catering to the young, fun-loving, demographic. A lot of Pepsi commercials, if you’ll notice, feature younger music star, celebs, or young status symbols. They’re not targeting the same market as Coke, even though they produce arguably similar products.

Corporate Profile Research

The best defense is a good offense. You’ve probably heard that before. One of the best defensive plays is to do your research before you do business with a vendor or even a large corporate client. How do you do your “due diligence?” You hire a research firm to check out company profiles before you sign anything on the dotted line.

Investigate corporate officers for any history of fraud. Check a company’s background to see if its filed bankruptcy in the past. Investigate all government and public filings that the company has made. Companies like BusinessProfiles.com specialize in this sort of thing. Of course, they’re not the only game in town, but you get the idea

Leveraging Profitable Partnerships

Let’s say you’re in pen business. You make a pen that lasts 30 percent longer, costs 50 percent less to make, carries the same amount of ink as a standard pen, and is nearly indestructible. The problem is that you don’t have the influence of a Bic. You don’t own manufacturing facilities. What you do have is negotiating power and a great product. So, approach a manufacturing plan and ask them to make your product for you, while cutting them in on a portion of the profit on every sale.

You get to leverage the power of the big boys without having to build your own facilities. If you hire a distributor or drop-shipper, you’ll be just like some of the big names in the industry but without the excessive overhead.

Acquisitions

Large companies often acquire smaller companies when it’s advantageous to do so. Most big companies grow through acquisitions. Conceptually, this is the easiest way to improve profits. You buy a profitable company, or a company that’s inherently profitable but poorly run, and you instantly gain additional revenue. While buying a company might seem scary at first, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. Research a company with good profit potential or a company that’s worth rehabbing. Buy it, and then assimilate it into your company. Rinse. Repeat.

Thought Leadership

Big companies often make a name for themselves by being the thought-leader in their industry. This is really what you should aim for. Think about the big names in your industry. You probably look up to them. You probably secretly emulate them. Maybe you envy them. Maybe you try to set yourself apart from them in some way, but you use them as a benchmark for something – even if it’s a point of differentiation.

Your goal is to be that thought-leader. How do you do this? One of the best ways is to really focus on the content that your company produces. Develop a corporate “voice.” This is a bit more involved than developing a point of differentiation. You want to be a corporate personality – a unique one too.

The quality of the information that you produce also has to be stellar. When and where appropriate, use professional references in published materials, for example. Create educational initiatives aimed at explaining what you do, and what your industry does, in “plain English.” Finally, to clinch the deal, create entirely new applications for your products and services that no one’s every thought about before.

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