by Brandon Anderson, founder of Trans Supply
Do you have a small business right now that you wish could support yourself full time? Here are some tips on how to increase the size of your business so you don’t need any side gigs to make ends meet.
I started my traffic safety business Trans Supply in high school and ran it through four years of college, so I had plenty of time to grow it to a point where I didn’t need any other job after college.
1. Build out offerings (products, services etc) while you have time and don’t have bills you need to worry about.
When you don’t have pressure to make enough to pay rent and food bills (typically in high school and/or college) you can focus building your product or service offerings. I spent multiple summers just adding products to my website and editing them to make everything as neat and clean as possible. The more you offer, the more sales you will get. For example, you may think because I sell traffic safety a lot of my sales come from traffic cones, this is actually false as there are a lot more profitable products within my industry.
2. Start with a foundation (could be a site, store etc) that can handle the growth needed later on so you don’t have to worry about upgrading sites/systems/store location.
When you start dedicating your time and effort into a website or store that you are going to outgrow then you are wasting your time because it will all have to be redone later.
Think about 5 years ahead to where you expect the business to be, and invest in a location or website layout that can handle that level of business. I bought a big e-commerce platform before I started spending time loading products to my website.
3. Come up with an organized way of doing business.
There were a lot of times I wish I had a more organized way of looking up past customers, double checking an order shipped etc. I have a great system now, but it took a few years to get it down and I had many times where I was very confused and frustrated because I wasn’t organized. When things are neat and tidy you are less stressed and will spend less time fumbling through papers so more time can be spent building up your business.
4. Invest in being seen.
Marketing is a great investment because the more you are seen (especially if it’s where your customers are looking) the more sales you will have.
Invest in long term marketing strategies so that later on when you need the business to support yourself, it can because you are positioned where the customer is looking and have developed your brand there.
5. Find companies to look up to.
Find businesses within your industry that are similar in the way they are run (online, offline, manufacturing, distribution) but are a lot bigger than yours.
What products are they selling that you aren’t? How are they marketing themselves? See what is setting you apart from them, and strive to do as well or better.