Business is booming. You have many wonderful customers who love your products or services, your marketing campaign is going perfectly, and every meeting with your bookkeeper brings more good news. Its time for expansion! But hold your horses. Is your business really ready for expansion?
It can be easy to jump the gun on expansion when you are having a great year. Expanding too far too quickly could cause more problems than it solves. You need to think about your customers, locations, employees, and finances before expanding. If extensive research into each of those areas is giving the green light it may be time for expansion.
Here are 10 signs your business is ready to expand.
1. Business is backing up
Are customers flooding through the door, the phone ringing non-stop, and you and your staff are overwhelmed with orders? This could be a sign you need to expand. If you and your employees are struggling to keep up with your workload year-round you may need to hire more help or get more space.
Adding the extra hands or space could help you keep up with the continuous in-pour of customers, as long as they are consistently pouring in. Before you expand off this one point, look to see if this busy period is sustained year-round. Having a busy month or two doesn’t guarantee the same across the year.
2. Space is running out
If things are getting a little crowded at the office, it may be time to look at getting a larger space. Being crammed into a small space does not bode well for your employees’ or customers’ happiness. A cramped office where employees and customers are struggling not to bump into each other is a tell tale sign you need to look at getting more space.
3. You have a team of superstars
Have a look at your team, how motivated and invested are they in growing your business? A motivated and talented team can help push your product or service further enabling expansion. However, if they are not prepared, motivated, or invested enough to work harder to take your business to the next level, you may need to take the time to set the team right. Just adding some highly motivated and skilled team members could push the whole team further.
4. You have a plan for growth
Having a robust expansion plan is important before you consider growing your business. Create a detailed plan that maps out the journey you will take in growth and expansion, and the goals you will need to accomplish on the way. You should also include a market analysis and strategy, daily operations plan, financial history, and financial plans and projections.
5. Your goals are being smashed
Are you reaching all your business goals? If you are smashing your goals earlier than expected it may be time to aim higher. Look at your data and set new goals aiming for further expansion to meet your new, larger goals. Remember to keep the big picture in mind as to where you want your company to be. Keep looking at your data and keep moving towards reaching your new goals.
6. You are managing your money well
Talk to your bookkeeper and accountant about your expansion plans. They will be able to advise you on what steps you need to take to ensure your finances are manageable and stable. As you expand, it becomes even more important to ensure you are on top of your debts and are not losing track of your expenses. By keeping track of your expenses, you and your bookkeeper can plan and remain on top of any problems that could arise.
7. You have the finances
Do you have the financial resources required to expand your business? Expansion is an expensive process and involves some risk. Look at how you will fund your expansion. If you have enough positive cashflow to fund your growth, then go ahead. However, if you do not you may have to talk to your bank or investors to discuss your expansion plans. Worst case scenario, you may have to scale back your plans, but this is better than risking bankruptcy.
8. Your industry is growing
If you are in a rapidly growing industry it can be easy to get swept up and grow along with it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you just need to be smart about it. Conduct market and competitor research to see where your business stands. If you are ahead of the trend, then you may grow further than you imagined. The best thing to do in this situation is to get advice from a business mentor who has done this before. They can provide insight into the next move you should make based on their own experience.
9. You have customer support
What do your customers have to say about your business? If they are recommending your products or services to friends and you have new customers seeking you out as a result, then it is a good sign you are on the right track. Talk to your customers about what they would love to see from your business. After doing so, if you have received a lot of customer feedback wanting to access your products or services in other locations, this may be an indication that it is time to look at expansion.
10. Business processes are written down
The key to a successful expansion is maintaining what makes your business unique. This will be your brand, customer experience, and staff experience. Write down your brand culture and brand rules, including a procedural guideline for every process, in order to maintain consistency across your business. Maintaining these procedures will keep your customers happy and help provide the same great experience in each of your locations or in interactions with new customers you gain.
Expansion can be challenging, expensive and risky, but if your business is in the right place the rewards will be well worth it. The key element you need before you expand is a bookkeeper you can trust. A great bookkeeper will be able to advise you on your finances to ensure your business is in the right spot before expansion. They can advise you on financial moves you need to make to keep cash flowing as you expand. Talk to Link Strategies today to find a friendly bookkeeper who will help with your expansion goals.