Q: I’ve owned a business based on a single product for two years. What steps should I consider to expand my business and add revenue streams?
A: Most people either have no clue where to expand their business. Or they have so many expansion ideas that they’re not sure which one is best for them to pursue. One woman who successfully grew her revenue stream says that doing more doesn’t have to be complicated—as long as you do your homework.
How to expand your business
Amie Hoff, a New York fitness trainer, corporate wellness consultant and public speaker, co-created FitKit, a series of portable kits with all the tools needed for a full-body workout, along with more than 200 exercises via FitKit’s digital exercise library. Hoff identifies four steps as crucial to her success:
1. Brainstorm options for expanding your business.
To expand her business, Hoff could have booked more personal-training clients, but there are only so many hours in a day. Although she considered creating a fitness product from scratch, the potential for sky-high manufacturing and distribution costs was a deterrent. To make more money and reach more people despite the limit of time, Hoff expanded by selling FitKits to corporate wellness programs and moving into corporate consulting. In the process, she tapped a new pool of clients and greatly increased her income.
2. Conduct research within your target market.
Hoff’s research winnowed her options and educated her on exactly what she was getting into with expanding her business. She studied fitness industry publications, joined networking groups and examined industry trends on blogs and in webinars. “Most [of these sources] offer insight into what is already being done and how you might fit in,” Hoff says. “I also connected with human resources directors and corporate wellness managers to better understand what was being done, what was lacking and where and how I could offer my expertise. Most people are willing to share their experiences and offer guidance.”
Hoff also gave potential corporate clients a free taste of her FitKit, a step she calls “a small price to pay for the experience and feedback.”
3. Know your numbers.
Hoff’s homework also gave her a handle on the anticipated costs and timeline of expanding her business. “You must understand the cost of developing and the time involved. Then you have to be realistic about what you have and are able to spend,” she says. “Putting every detail on paper shows you the reality of what you are up against and whether you can make it work.”
4. Commit fully to expanding your business.
Ultimately, Hoff had to jump in and give her all. “Trying to create something part-time will not allow you to truly grasp the full potential. As scared as I was, I took a hiatus from my personal-training clients, who were my bread and butter, to put more effort into consulting. You won’t know if something is going to work unless you give it the time and energy to find out,” she says.
This article was published in February 2015 and has been updated. Photo by fizkes/Shutterstock