3 Strategies to Grow Your Business

There are many ways to grow your portable sanitation business. Here are three to consider: 

1 Add New Products and Services: selling to current customers 

This may be the easiest way to grow your business because it simply requires spending a little extra time selling to current customers. Think about the additional products or services you can sell to existing customers. If they currently rent toilets, what else could you supply to them with your current equipment and personnel. Could you deliver fresh water? Could you supply storage tanks? Could you add sinks? Could you upgrade your units for an additional fee? Could you ad amenities such as flush, sink, fresh water, or hot water for additional fees? Could you increase units per customer? Could you provide pressure washing? Liquid-waste hauling? 

2 Find New Customers by prospecting with existing products or services 

The search for new customers and unexploited niche markets is a challenge that will take rethinking how your products and services are used and by whom. A good way to start is to gather employees and friends for a brainstorming meeting. Put a map on the wall of your service area and ask everyone to look at it using their imagination as if they were a bird flying over the area. 

Mark every point on the map where your group thinks that people may need a portable toilet, a sink, a shower, waste pumping or hauling, fresh water delivery, or any other service your company may be able to provide. Minority neighborhoods tend to be underserved by service businesses. Is there an area near you that you haven't looked into? 

Another good technique that you can use is to ask all of your customers who their competitors are. Since your customer's competitors are in the same business, they are the perfect prospect for your sales efforts. With your customer's help, your list will be more complete. 

Here are six additional techniques for finding new customers: 
1. Solicit referrals. Offer discounts, freebies or other incentives to customers who bring you new business. 
2. Try direct marketing. Write a personal letter to targeted sales leads offering a special pricing or other incentive to try your services for first time customers. 
3. Share prospects with other businesses who serve your market. For example, an alliance between a lumber supplier and a portable restroom supplier lets each company recom-mend new contractors they're working with. 
4. Look outside your niche. Think creatively about other markets that may want your product or service. 
5. Do good deeds, and inform prospects of your philanthropy. For example, donating a restroom to a good cause, such as a Habitat for Humanity project, is a perfect way for a company that caters to the home construction market to get free publicity. 

3 Develop Business by supplying new products or services to new customers 

Once your group has identified potentially underserved areas on a map, generate new ideas for serving new customers. Here are some starting questions to help you think of ways you might be able to expand your markets: 

• Who else might use your product or service? 
• What else could your equipment or service be used for? 
• Is your present location working for you? Is it central to your largest routes? Are there areas on the map that would be obvious areas to expand into? 
• Can you enter into related markets by expanding your operation? 
• If you have excess capacity, can you rent it to other businesses that aren't in competition with you? 

If you are not in the special event market, what are the special events in your region, and what would you have to do to bid on them? Have you ever thought of starting a special event? The special event market is the fastest growing business segment. Think of all the things your town could host. Tomato Festival, Sunflower Festival, Marathon for (name the charity), Sunset Parade, Pig Races, a Soccer Tournament, Turkey Shoot, Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking Contest, Pioneer Picnic, the ideas are endless. Since special events are good for just about every business in town, it's easy to get support and form a planning committee. The more your event is publicized, the more people will come and the more toilets the town will need. 

Planning for additional sales 
When you find a new market or new customers, give some thought to how the additional sales could impact your business, and plan for it. Meeting increased demand can require additio-nal financial commitments or developing new management expertise. 

Other things to consider include: at what level 
of sales might you need to employ another person, either 
short-term or permanent, and what skills will you be looking for? If you are looking at a substantial increase in sales, what effect might it have on your income tax position over the coming year? Rapid growth can be as dangerous as no growth without effective planning. 

Gregg Delong 
PolyJohn Southwestern States Representative