Are you ready to expand your business?

When business is going well, many owners look to expand their business. Consider the following advice before doing so:

Regular customers

A sound indicator of whether or not your business is ready for expansion is to consider your customer base. To feel comfortable in expanding, you should have regular and loyal customers that return to your business. Regular customers that appreciate and value your business can be more helpful than you may realise; they can bring in more customers by speaking positively about the business. When you begin thinking about expanding, it would be worthwhile to create a survey or questionnaire, asking what could be done to improve the service your business provides. Any feasible suggestions should be implemented before expanding.

Financially ready

There are a lot of expenses associated with expanding your business. Hiring and training new staff, paying for new hardware and software, and any other technology needed to facilitate growth all costs money. Additional rent on another office space and bills can add up to a sizeable figure. While you may be able to afford all of these expenses that come with expanding your business, consider whether the profit you will make from implementing all these changes will be fruitful and worthwhile for the business, or whether it will be a loss in the long-run.

Resources

Money is not the only resource you need to expand successfully. You will need adequate space. To gain more space consider whether you will open a second or third office or whether you will allow for more flexible working conditions, such as allowing staff to work remotely. Evaluate whether you have enough staff to handle a larger business; this includes answering phones, responding to emails, assisting customers in store, etc. If your business is one that makes deliveries, you will need to organise additional resources such as another delivery truck and potentially more delivery staff.

Develop a strategy

It is naive to assume that expanding will be a straightforward process. Regardless of how many loyal customers you have or how much money you have, without a sound business strategy, the likelihood of achieving success is slim. Plan how you will manage the expansion through completing a SWOT analysis. You should prepare a budget that will enable you to expand successfully; you will need to submit a financial application and analyse how current cash flow will enable or hinder the process. When you put your business plan into action and start expanding, regular and thorough reviews should be undertaken to stay on top of how well the process is going.

Cristy Houghton