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All Systems Grow

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to grow your business. Get ready for liftoff with these 7 expansion strategies.

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This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After the 16-hour workdays, eleventh-hour decision making, empty aspirin bottles and half-eaten sandwiches, your business is finally a success--with the revenue stream to prove it. So how do you stay ahead of the pack? Riding the success of your introduction is not an option--you've got to reach new customers and new markets. "There always has to be a next thing," says Bruce Lynskey, clinical professor of management at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee.

The key to your next move is choosing the expansion method that best fits your company's product or service, your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner, and the limitations of cash, credit and existing resources. A business taking on a new growth strategy should be walking on steady legs, not looking for ways to avoid unresolved problems. And while growth is the central tenet of business development, be willing to apply the brakes when the expansion rate is too much to handle.

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