Okay, so you’ve taken a risk and started your own business. You’ve done the hard work (starting), and now the ball is finally rolling. Your business is growing. So what’s next? How are you adjusting to suit the expansion?
We asked our small business experts how they’ve expanded their businesses once they started taking off. Here’s what they had to say:
“As Doubledot Media grows, we’re expanding our staff to include a global group of telecommuters who fill various roles. Hiring remotely expands our team and gives us access to the world’s best talent without requiring us to move to a bigger office.” –Simon Slade, SaleHoo
“Chicago Style SEO is a full-service digital marketing company. We’ve been bootstrapping/growing slowly and steadily for 7 years. We have gone from the two founders to 13 people, moved to a larger office in Chicago, and opened a 2nd office in Cincinnati when a founding partner moved there. We’ve had 3 versions of our website in those 7 years and will have another soon.” –Rod Holmes, Chicago Style SEO
“I’ve been working on my business for almost 4 years now and although I started really small, as a part-time occupation, it has steadily grown to be my full-time job. I’ve recently taken a step towards its expansion and it has been to make my website available in Spanish as well as in English. I’m Spanish myself but I started my business online, focusing on American and Australian clients, so all my content was only in English. This upgrade will definitely help me expand my audience and I am now able to start marketing my services locally.” -Cristina Castro Moral, Sombras Blancas Art & Design
“I manage EnviroBuild, so far a successful eCommerce startup and we specialize in environmentally friendly composite decking (we use recycled plastic and wood to create long life decking products), we also donate 10% of our profits back to sustainable charities. We’ve just completed our 1st year in business and since launching, we’ve had great growth and interest, especially with the ever increasing focus on eco-building.”-James Brueton, EnviroBuild
“As I grow my watches and movie businesses I am finding backers through facebook including sponsored facebook ads and twitter. My watches campaign is listed in Kickbooster which is bringing in extra sales. I am building a sales force by advertising on jobs boards online.” –Alexander Cooper, Cooper Watches, Parallel The Film, Sandow The Movie
“Our business grew very quickly in a span of three years and everyone has started to see the potential of the industry. After months of deliberation, we’re now offering franchising opportunities to give business-minded individuals the chance to be part of this $4 billion industry. It’s a big undertaking for us but we want to have the name iCare Phone Repair to get bigger in Michigan.” –Andrea Barnes, iCare Phone Repair
“In order to fuel the growth of the business a web presence is imperative
these days. People do more online research before making a buying decision
than ever before. Having a customer centric, not company centric, website is
probably one the most important tools for generating new business a company
can have in the current business climate. We are in the process of a complete overhaul of our web and social media presence to meet these objectives. We have also taken the approach of a ROWE (Results Orientated Work Environment). Employees work remotely 95% of the time. They are judged based on results, not the number of hours they work. They set their own hours and perform the work they are assigned when they want to. This reduces the need to expand into larger offices, with additional phone lines, furniture, computers, increased rent and utilities. It also reduces the time spent on freeways, especially in CA, where you can spend 1-4 hrs. a day just getting to and from work. It reduces stress levels with employees because they know they can go to the doctor’s office without needing to seek approval. They like the flexibility a ROWE affords them. Everyone can stay connected so if they have questions and need to communicate with clients, it can be done quickly and effectively.” -Bill Walls, InTouch Marketing
“As our business is rapidly growing and expanding, we’re doing three things:
1. Focusing on accepting the *right* work, not any work. Now that we’re
growing, were able to undertake the work that we want, on our terms. It’s
2. We’re investing in making sure that our marketing message and online
presence *aligns with the customer group* that we want to work with,
rather than being too broad and generic.
3. We’re investing in people, both internal and external, and both in
terms of finances and time. Staff and customers are all people, and both
are vital to your success. Invest in them.” –David Magee, Dunwiley
“Over the last couple of years, my business has really flourished which meant
I needed to hire more people. As I added more people, we outgrew our rented
space and I was able to purchase an office building about 8 months ago. Additionally, being the owner of a web design company, I was able to do a complete redesign of my company’s entire website offering more services.” –Kornel Kurtz, WebTek
“We are using different channels to enhance our lead generation and revenues. The most promising include developing alliances and partnerships with other companies to generate demand for each other and cross sell and more aggressively use social media. We’ve also begun a very robust effort on public relations. We are a management consulting company and we have booked ourselves on several radio and TV programs, have been quoted by several outlets that will come out over the next 2 months, and have continues to author books and articles.” –Ronald Recardo, The Catalyst Consulting Group. LLC
“Scaling up is one of the most difficult challenges we face. In order to do this, we’ve increased inventory, which for our business means more wilderness trips. Fitpacking takes people on backpacking adventure vacations to get fit and lose weight. A few of our guides have been given expanded responsibilities to meet this challenge, however we’re still unable to afford full-time employees.” –Steve Silberberg, Fitpacking Weigh Loss Backpacking Adventures
“As we grow, we constantly expand and improve our website, because we are in the web development industry. Last year, we moved into a new office, and we’re continuing to hire additional development and support staff. This year looks to be the same and Geeks will continue to hire as we grow.” –Mark Tuchscherer, Geeks Chicago
“We are continuously growing and hiring more Independent Contractors almost on a monthly basis. It is a consistent task we do on a daily basis, emailing them back and forth, reviewing resumes, testing them, running background checks, and finally letting them transcribe for us on a trial basis to start. We are also in the process of redesigning our website, just completed an SEO audit, and have started a new social media campaign. We have also outsourced a few in-office tasks like payroll, bookkeeping, and invoicing.” –Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
“As my business grows, I always make sure to dedicate a percentage of the new revenues to advertising and promotion. As a one-man operation, I keep this number in mind beforehand to avoid the temptation of simply pocketing the cash for myself. This helps me to efficiently scale my business and harness the positive momentum for continued growth.” –Patrick Antinozzi, RapidWebLaunch.com
“For us, expanding is all about creating a process. For the last several months University FanCards have been working to onboard 14 schools into our programs. This involves not only revamping our website to accommodate all the new programs, but creating a unique process that allows us to market to fans on an individual basis.
Now that we have created that process, we are looking to hire several people that can implement it throughout each fanbase. We are also expanding to a new, much larger office at the end of next month.” –Greg Boggs, University FanCards
“As our cosmetics business, Colorado Aromatics, has grown, we’ve needed more space for production and storage. Last year we moved into a much larger space which gives us more freedom. We also added a storefront so now with our brick and mortar store its easier for people to find us year round. It used to be that people would find us at the farmers market or online. A storefront puts a face to our business. We are also putting more money into advertising on the local level which is paying off well.” –Cindy Jones, Ph.D., Colorado Aromatics
“As Tanga was gaining momentum going from a failed boardgame business to the dynamic marketplace it is today, we moved from my literal garage to a bigger office and finally to our supercharged current space. For the past four years, we’ve been gradually hiring 10-15 people a year. As we identified a new business opportunity, we would hire for it with the philosophy that those people would pay for themselves.” –Jeremy Young, Tanga.com
“Since starting Media Minefield — a news-driven P.R. agency based in the Twin Cities in 2010 — we have expanded by leaps and bounds! We have not only moved into a larger space within the past couple of months (our third office building in five years), we’ve also hired our first Regional Director who will focus on growth throughout the Midwest. He is the first of several Regional Directors Media Minefield will plan to have working across the country over the next five years. As the CEO of an ever-expanding business focused on earned media, I’m always mindful of our company culture, because I want to continue to do what works best for us as a whole and what got us to where we are.” –Kristi Piehl, Media Minefield
“As we enter into our 5th year of business we’ve been fortunate to grow at least 200% every year so far. We aim to continue this growth rate through focused methodology that allows my business partner and I to scale and grow. This means we set up processes that are documented and recorded so that we can continue to streamline and delegate roles and tasks to a growing employee base or our contracted partners.” –AJ Fountain, Dr. Squatch Soap Co.
“We started out 6 years ago in a home office in Canmore, AB with a small, small sales team. As we have grown, we have had to expand to rent an office in Vancouver, so we could be in the heart of the action. Our growth plan has been to develop great content for our guests, which had given us more online visibility – so we have also hired a full time Marketing person to develop this. We also took on an employee to do full time sales support and admin to assist our busy sales team. These were all necessary decisions in growing the successful small business we run today.” –Mike Liverton, LeaveTown.com
“Building on the success of medical clients including premier orthopedic surgeons in New York City and the team chiropractor for the Buffalo Bills, Garrett Smith created OrthoRank (www.orthorank.com). OrthoRank is an online marketing platform that understands that if a potential patient can’t find a doctor on Google, they’re likely to go somewhere else. Garrett has since leased a bigger office on the burgeoning medical campus in Buffalo, NY, hired new employees, and created a lot of additional work for this contracted web developers.” –Garrett Smith, OrthoRank
“Our revenue has been rapidly growing for a while now, and we’ve been continually hiring employees in the past year. We’re currently seeking an SBA loan so that we can accelerate our hiring process further without falling short on cash. Because our income is growing, we’re comfortable taking out a low interest loan to grow our business: we expect a much bigger payoff in the long run by bolstering our organization now with a batch of fresh employees.” –Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
“Not only have we just hired a new Publicist for our team, but we’re also bringing an intern on board. In addition, we’re working with an SEO specialist to improve our website and drive more organic traffic to it. I can see us hiring another Publicist in the next 6 months as our business continues to grow.” –Erika Taylor Montgomery, Three Girls Media Inc.
“One of the most important aspects of a business such as ours (Online Sales) is getting good press from websites such as Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com so that Google gives more authority to our products. We looked to a few PR agencies here in Miami but were unable to find ones that specialized in getting PR done specifically for an online company. Additionally they were asking for ten to twenty thousand dollars a month, with this in mind we set about to create an in house PR agency and now have 3 employees working full time doing PR. This has helped our business immensely!” -Candice Galek, Bikini Luxe