A guide to hitting your next business milestone, whether that's launching a new product or service or expanding to other markets.

FEBRUARY 04, 2015 Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.—Benjamin Franklin

Part of any successful business is setting professional and personal goals and putting long-term plans in place. We should measure our businesses against benchmarks and implement new plans of attack in order to reach milestones and grow our businesses.  

Let’s take a closer look at a few ways to grow your business, including what you need, potential obstacles and, ultimately, how to make it happen. First, you obviously need to formulate an idea of what you want to accomplish. You also need to realize implementing it takes planning, research and patience. Whether you're just starting out with a new concept, looking to grow your employee base, enter a new market or launch a new product or service, the process of taking your business to the next level should be strategically thought out, from idea to execution.

Launch a New Product or Service

One way to grow your business is by introducing a new product or service to your customers. Have you done your homework? The first step is to do a SWOT analysis. Identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the marketplace. Is your product/service something your customers would need or want? If this product or service exists already, where are your target customers getting it from right now? If the market is saturated, how is your product/service different? Do you have the capital you need to successfully push the product/service to fruition?  

If you have tested the waters and feel strongly that your offering will be successful, put together a rollout plan that includes the necessary resources to effectively reach your target audience. To successfully market to any audience today, whether existing customers or potential clients, you'll likely need to incorporate a sound social media marketing plan. If you've already developed a solid foundation on any of the social platforms, ask your followers to help spread the word about your new product or service. You might consider having influencers or experts that you engage with online become beta testers of your new product. With some effort, but almost no cost, a small group of highly influential and respected people can help a new product or service go viral.