Once you’ve tweaked your business model and hit your pace with it, your business is likely to plateau. You might make incremental gains in market share doing what you already do, but any significant growth spurt is going to come from pursuing new opportunities.

You may not want to grow because you're happy to have your business the size it is now. But depending upon your business model, you may be forced to grow or wither. If you find yourself offering special incentives (e.g., coupons, sales) just to keep the same level of sales, your business is in that position now.

But be careful of what you choose as a new opportunity. The closer the new growth opportunity is to what you do now, the more likely it will work well for you because it will require less in the way of resources, learning curve, and startup problems.

Going into something just because it looks like you may make a lot of money is usually a mistake. If you don’t have the expertise and experience, the cost of gaining those may be greater than your business can sustain. The new venture could bleed your existing business to death.

So choose something that builds on what you already are good at. For example, suppose your shop does in-plant motor maintenance. If you’re providing a full suite of services to properly maintain those motors, you already have such test equipment as:

  • Vibration testers.
  • Thermographic cameras.
  • Rotation testers.
  • Ultrasonic testers.
  • DMMs with advanced features such as a VFD mode and low-impedance input filter.
  • Clamp meters.
  • Harmonic analyzer.
  • Power analyzer.

And, of course, your people are trained in using that test equipment.

Where else could you use this equipment? To reduce marketing costs and sales efforts, start by looking at the accounts you are now servicing. What is in their plants that you already have the capability to work on?

Consider the ultrasonic testers as an example. Nearly every industrial facility has a plant air system, and the typical facility has one with many leaks. These leaks cost money in multiple ways, and can adversely affect production.

It’s not electrical work to walk down the compressed air distribution system and identify leaks, but you can hire and train a couple of people to do that. You also can train them on how to properly assemble compression fittings to replace the leaking ones. Or if you don’t want to add that ability, then form a strategic alliance with a plumbing shop that you can recommend to do the work.

The plant engineer at this account will see a lower electrical bill once this work is done. That naturally may lead to a conversation about other ways to reduce energy losses. You’ve got thermographic cameras and trained thermographers, and you’ve got power analysis tools. You can reduce energy losses by identifying and fixing perhaps hundreds of high-impedance connections. You can reduce energy losses caused by voltage imbalance, low power factor, and other power problems.

You can identify dry-type transformers that are overloaded and those that are oversized, leading to work in replacing these transformers and/or moving loads. This work may require you to hire qualified people you don’t have in your employ, but adding more people is part of growing. And you’re getting the work by leveraging your existing capabilities.