Across the country, many small business owners might be thinking about the ways in which they can help their companies grow, and increase the foothold they have in their local markets. Of course, such a step is never easy, and should be taken with significant caution. But there are still a number of tried and true methods for helping to ensure a company can increase its profile and remain in good financial shape while doing so.

Perhaps one of the best ways to grow a business is to diversify products or other offerings, according to a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration. This is a good idea because it allows companies to continue working in the realm they have always operated, but also start moving into new avenues? as well. This can be done by adding complementary offerings, working on developing importing or exporting business relationships, or by seasonal companies finding ways to expand into new times of the year. By taking these steps, businesses may simply be able to test the waters for a broader expansion sometime down the road.

Owners need to think carefully about how to grow their companies successfully.Owners need to think carefully about how to grow their companies successfully.

What else can be done?
In addition, it might be wise for small business owners to look for ways they can they can ally themselves with other companies, the report said. Even direct competitors may sometimes be able to come together to tackle a problem that can end up being beneficial for both companies, but finding other businesses with similar offerings and working together on ways to potentially expand could go a long way.

Along similar lines, it might sometimes be easiest to expand by doing so somewhat physically, the report said. Opening another location for a business, or buying or merging with a local competitor, can help companies expand in ways they might not have been able to in the past. Some companies may even be able to find similar success by franchising.

Thinking smaller, but also bigger
Of course, many businesses might be able to expand without going to that trouble,  by making their online presence stronger, the report said. The internet can help to make any company go from being small and local to small and international, and as long as the offerings are good, there are probably many sites on which an eager market is just waiting to be tapped.

When owners are trying to expand their companies, they should never leap before they look. As such, it might be wise for any entrepreneur who is thinking about taking any of the steps above to consult with the experts at a nearby community bank to determine the best course of action – including drawing up a financial plan – that can be taken to achieve the goals laid out. That, in turn, helps ensure that whatever steps taken will come with the right amount of caution.