The never-ending issue of trying to expand and grow your business constantly looks you in the face. Who hasn't asked the question, "How do I boost my bottom line?" As a business owner, there are several ways to approach growth. The avenues are as unique as you are and can depend greatly on your industry, location, and setup. That said, there are three fundamental strategies that are tried and true: 1. Increase your number of customers or client base. 2. Increase your average transaction value. 3. Increase the frequency at which customers purchase from your business.

The never-ending issue of trying to expand and grow your business constantly looks you in the face. Who hasn't asked the question, "How do I boost my bottom line?" As a business owner, there are several ways to approach growth. The avenues are as unique as you are and can depend greatly on your industry, location, and setup. That said, there are three fundamental strategies that are tried and true: 1. Increase your number of customers or client base. 2. Increase your average transaction value. 3. Increase the frequency at which customers purchase from your business.

See article get "how to get new business from your existing clients" in the December 2007 articles Unless you have a fantastically developed infrastructure, it is usually best to focus on applying one of the three ways at a time. The first step is to decide which of the three will promise the biggest payoff, the least pain, and minimum distraction. Let's say that you want to start by increasing your number of customers or growing your client base.

Here is a list of traditional strategies: 1. Utilize Referral Systems 2. Acquire Customers at Breakeven (use loss leaders) 3. Risk Reversal 4. Host Beneficiary Relationships 5. Advertise 6. Implement Direct Mail 7. Start Telemarketing 8. Sponsor Special Events and Host Information Nights 9. Buy Qualified Lists 10. Further Define your Unique Selling Proposition 11. Increase Customer Education 12. Use Public Relations You may be using some of these strategies already. But, chances are you could pick up one of them relatively easily and enhance your current efforts.

Which one these strategies have you successfully used in the past to acquire customers? Which ones of these strategies can you see opportunities with in the future? Which one of these strategies could you implement quickly? Which would give you the biggest opportunity to move your business forward?

The above techniques work to increase your client base. Say you've reached a pretty strong client base and the cost to increase it wouldn't pay off or you simply don't have any more space. In that case, try taking a look at what your average customers are spending with each transaction. If you're facing some diminished returns on acquiring new customers, why not get each of the customers you have to spend just a little more? Remember, if you have 200 clients and each of them spends just $10 more per month, you're looking at an additional $2,000 in monthly revenue. That's not too bad and these increases add up in a hurry. The important thing, if you choose this method, is to make your customers feel well taken care of-that they are still getting the best deal in town and the best customer service. Raising prices just to raise prices can alienate your customer base if you don't manage the communication.

If you are going for more than an incremental raise in prices, be sure to include a new service or additional takeaway for your loyal customers. While the third way may seem more manipulative than the second way, it can actually be less alienating for your customers. If you can get your clients to take more than one class then you would increase your revenues without getting new customers. By combining these packages with an incremental raise in prices, could you get your customers not only to pay a little more, but also purchase a little more? What you ultimately decide will depend on your business. Some dance studios are more accustomed to incremental price increases. Some are rigid and static.

Only you can make the decision to expand-and which approach would strike the best balance. One thing I can tell you, is that over the years we have had price increases periodically and we usually plan to do it every two years or have a three year increase adding a little more every year and we have not lost any of our best and loyal customers because of it. Plan your price increase and work it in when you can. Just go slowly and be sure to show the additional value!