The prospect of business expansion tempts many small-business owners, but business growth is only a good thing if you’re ready for it. Here’s how you can tell if your business is prepared for progress.
Rapid business growth can be an exciting time for small businesses when everything falls into place, but growing too rapidly can also be a time of great danger and can even lead to the business’s demise. By assessing the following five areas of your business prior to growth, you’ll be better prepared to take it to the next level.
Does your business have the room to grow? No matter what business you run, you will have a physical workspace, anything from a home office to a warehouse. Can you grow where you are, or do you need to relocate your business? This opens up a can of worms in terms of cancelling leases, finding new premises and the associated costs. Legal fees and moving expenses can be a substantial drain on cash resources and time taken away from actually running the business. Moving may be a necessity before expansion, but can you afford the short-term drain on cash resources?
Small businesses often rely on current staff to play a large role in the expansion; it makes sense to do so given their inside knowledge of the business operations. However, business owners must be careful not to put undue stresses and pressure on current staff and risk burnout. Keeping staff involved in the expansion of a business gives them a sense of ownership and helps create a co-operative and positive team, which will inspire further growth down the track.
It’s your current customers and clients that got you to where you are today so neglect them at your peril. Often the thrill of the chase for new business will see existing clients feeling neglected or unloved. Dedicating a team or employee to manage existing customer relationships will help prevent them from wandering away from your business. If customers are accustomed to receiving personal service from you as the business owner make sure that you still maintain regular contact on some level.
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Marketing will always be essential when expanding a business. Getting the message of your product or service out to the marketplace in a consistent and timely manner is the key. Stay true to what’s worked in the past and tailor differentiated marketing plans based on your service or product offerings.
Often administration of a business is seen as a necessary evil, but ensuring that policies and procedures are in place to manage new business is essential. Sturdy business systems create consistency throughout the business, preventing confusion and time delays as new business is brought on board.
Expanding a small business should be an exciting and fruitful time when managed well. Ensuring that all aspects of the business from staff to marketing are all adequately placed to handle the expansion will allow you to grow with as few headaches as possible. There will always be issues that arise, but keeping a strong united team capable of adhering to key business policies while keeping new customers happy will keep the dramas to a minimum and allow you to focus on the bigger picture: a viable healthy business capable of surviving the toughest of storms.
What are your tips for preparing your business for growth?