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While strategies to increase entrepreneurs’ customer base and boost revenue are (on the surface) a good thing, growth alone isn’t enough to support and sustain a company if the right conditions aren’t met.

Expanding a business can be a very exciting time. Even though there are plenty of signs that show entrepreneurs should expand, they also need to do it the right way. A lot of our Endeavor Entrepreneurs are looking into expansion this year; be it market penetration, market development, product development or even diversification.

We’ve compiled a few ‘To Do’s’ and ‘Not To Do’s’ briefly from our entrepreneurs’ mentoring sessions. In our next few important steps to building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, when it comes to expansion according to industry leaders (to name a few) like May Lim (Managing Director of The Arnott’s Group) and Anthony Low (Former VP of Nestle Global):

1. Entrepreneurs should not create sub-brands if there is a risk of it cannibalizing the mother brand.

A brand itself is expensive and requires a lot of resources invested into building the brand. Whenever entrepreneurs bring up the interest in wanting to create a sub-brand, Endeavor Mentors would usually ask these questions:

(1a) Will the sub-brand have a clear differentiation with the mother brand or other sub-brands?

Big companies DO sub-brands like Kraft, Heinz and Campbell but while reading this we all know what these sub-brands sell. Kraft sells cheese, Heinz sells sauce-condiments, and Campbell sells instant soup. That's the whole point of it. If entrepreneurs were to create sub-brands, they should consider launching it with a clear differentiation.

(2a) Will entrepreneurs be making profit out of a sub-brand? Or can the efforts be directed in exploring growing the mother brand itself even more or exploring different formats and packaging?

Although operations may look perfect and it works thus far, if entrepreneurs can cut costs on certain operations, Endeavor Mentors have redirected entrepreneurs’ focus that it may benefit their company even more compared to creating a sub-brand.

(3a) Does the sub-brand tackle a specific problem that can become a customer's go-to product, service or a solution to their everyday purchases? Or has the mother brand done this job for the company?

Focus is key, sometimes it does take even up to 7-10 years, but once customers know what entrepreneurs provide and when or where they can get it, just like Arnott’s, Nestle and FarmFresh, entrepreneurs are poised to grow leaps and bounds.

(4a) And if entrepreneurs do end up having a sub-brand, is the name stretchy?

For example, Nestle started off as a milk brand and later on they diversified in many categories such as cereal, instant noodles, and more! Endeavor Mentor’s advice: Don’t let the brand’s name be limited and confined to one product alone in the following years. Entrepreneurs NEED to expect growth and potential where diversity can be implemented.

2. Entrepreneurs should identify their bread and butter and focus efforts/resources into this FIRST.

3. Entrepreneurs should do an exercise every 6 months and eliminate non-performing products and complexities.

4. Entrepreneurs should identify and re-identify what success looks like as metrics to measure by. The team will work together to achieve this goal, hence before expanding, revisit if everyone in the team is aligned towards one focused goal.

5. Entrepreneurs should aim to build a company that can become an innovation powerhouse first, re-look at the structure of the teams and have more talent in consumer insights, innovation/R&D and someone looking at food safety and security. Build this integral aspect first before expanding elsewhere.

Amongst the other few things entrepreneurs should look into when expanding, these are the top 5 tips from Endeavor Mentors we think entrepreneurs need to hear before taking that next big step. And if it may seem a bit discouraging, as Lim Chern Yuan (Group CEO of Yinson) puts it: “A lot of the efforts you see today are the efforts of 2 or 3 years ago. Entrepreneurs need to be patient with growth results.”

Hang on tight. We'll arrive at our destinations soon!

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