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7 Things to Consider When Expanding Your Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleThere is a small dilemma that most businesses face at some point, and that is whether or not to expand. If you try to expand too soon, you will end up failing to meet the increasing demand which can, in turn, harm your reputation. However, if you decide that you’re not going to expand just yet, it could lead to your competitors moving above you and gaining the ground that you were looking at yourself.

To stop your business from collapsing, you need a sturdy foundation. There are many ways to build this. Here are 7 points to help budding business owners expand their business for added growth.

1. Assess Your Key Performance Indicators

One way you can assess whether you’re ready for expansion or not is to check out your key performance indicators. These indicators help to tell you whether you are meeting your financial commitments and whether you are making enough profit to survive.

If you think you’ll need additional investment to expand your company, then these targets will also be something investors will look at when they decide to offer you money or not. If you find these targets are not being met, then you need to think about the long-term for expansion rather than right now.

2. Cash Flow

Expansion can be expensive, so you need to know that you can afford to do this while still maintaining the profits you need to survive. There are many ways you can fund your expansion. For instance, you can ask investors for additional cash, or you can plow your own profits into it. Whichever you choose, you need to make sure that you’re taking small steps. If you don’t, then you could run the risk of overstretching yourself and finding cash flow difficult.

After each period of expansion, you need to sit back and assess the outlook to make sure that your profits are still good. After a couple of months assessing your cash flow, you can then proceed to the next level of your expansion. Remember, be the tortoise, not the hare when it comes to business growth and expansion. Too quickly, and you run the risk burning out too soon.

3. Assess Your Needs

Before you can actually begin your expansion, you need to know what you’re looking for. This is where it can be very helpful to come up with a plan of action. In this plan, you can think about how you are going to expand, how it will take shape, and what you’re looking to achieve. You also need to have a set period of time set aside for this expansion, otherwise you could find yourself spending far longer than you should. As an example, if you’re looking to expand into online sales, then you need to know where your audience is and how you can attract them to your website.

Have a customer persona so that you know who you are targeting. Also, have the steps outlined so that you know the pathway to successful expansion. If your business needs extra labor, then be sure to spend time and money in this area, for example.

4. Logistics

With expansion should hopefully come growth, which is exactly what you want. However, this growth can sometimes cause you to have logistical issues. For example, if you’re making more sales, then you will need to have warehousing and shipping available that can accommodate this improved growth. One alternative is to visit companies such as those on this website where you can get other companies to arrange shipping and storage for you. Not only will this avoid the task having to find larger storage, but it will also mean you don’t need to hire additional staff.

Another option is to piggyback with another supplier so that they can store your products for you. This can often work well when you are considering a partnership with another company as part of your expansion plans.

5. Prepare for Additional Staff

It is likely that almost any expansion will require additional staff at some point. You need to think about this in advance, so you can make preparations for hiring additional staff and providing for their salaries. Alternatively, you could think about hiring freelance staff to take on some of the additional workloads. While this can be a good idea in many cases, you need to assess whether these types of workers will be beneficial to you in the long run. For example, although freelance workers will be a good idea for certain admin tasks or IT solutions, they may not necessarily work if you need people on site.

6. Do Your Market Research

While you may have the money to expand, you need to think about whether you have enough of the market to do so. To find this out, you need to do your market research and see if there are enough customers there to warrant an expansion. Look at your website analytics, for example, and see if you have more hits to your website than you can cope with order wise. Are you experiencing delays with your orders? Are you having to set up waiting lists for some of your products? If this is the case, then you have a good idea the expansion will work for you.

7. Marketing Adaptions

Once you’ve made this expansion, you need to think about attracting the customers to those areas of your business. If you’ve decided to expand in your horizons into the international markets, then you need to adjust your marketing to correspond with it. It means seeing where your international customers are, and how you can reach them. For online expansion, you might need to think about adding social media marketing to your strategy. These adaptations should have already been thought out during the planning stage, so you can also see how much you need to add to the marketing budget. This is also a good time to assess whether your competitors are also moving into these markets. If they are, and you may need to consider choosing different areas instead.

There are many things you need to consider when expanding your business. However, if you can plan your expansion properly and know your financial outlook is strong, then there is no reason why you can’t push ahead with the expansion plan.

The Things To Consider When Growing Your Business

A small business can turn into big things with the right time and effort put into it. Often these successful and thriving businesses start out as just an idea. An idea that will grow into something with nurturing and investment. Not just monetary, but also with the dedication and ambition to make the business work. Expansion is something that can happen quite quickly for a thriving small business, you can quickly outgrow your location, your level of commitment with stock or simply have more demand than items or services to offer. It is definitely exciting times to be in that particular situation. So how can you move things forward? I wanted to share with you some of the things you could consider.

Moving business location

Often when a business is thriving you can quickly outgrow your current set up, Many small businesses begin at home,working in a corner of a room with your living areas as acting as storage units. However, once a business begins to thrive you can start to realise that a new business location could be on the cards. A great tip would be to consider an outsourced office or storage environment. Moving on my next point, this could be another viable option.

Setting up a store or showroom

Another thing to consider would be to actually set up a physical shop and store, or even create your own showroom showcasing products and services that you can offer. It is the next step from moving business location or moving the business out of your home and taking your business forward in a different direction. This could really open your business up to other customers. It may give you a different advertising approach as you take on a new avenue of face to face sales rather than just relying on your digital business, and it could certainly be another revenue avenue for your business moving forward.

The technology to invest in

Sometimes expanding your business means that you need to invest in different areas and often that means different technology and software that can move your business forward. Things like gis tools which help with data mapping, software to help work out your customer demographic or even customer relationship management systems so that you can keep in touch with regular clients, especially in terms of repeat business.

Expansion in terms of products and services

Finally, another way to grow your business is to think about about expansion in terms of the products you sell or the services your business provides. You could look at other things that work alongside your current range, or you may even want to look into a different niche entirely. When it comes to services there are often ways you can advance on it. But products means that you have a whole host of options as long as it fits your original niche and purpose. For example, a lifestyle website that sells wall art and prints could also develop products of other homeware types such as lamps, wall lights and such, for example.

I hope that these things help you to take the next steps in terms of growing your business.

The Secrets Of Great Scaling

To a lot of start-up owners, growth is a universally good thing. You’re a small business now, and you want all the financial stability and branding strength of a large one. Naturally, this means that once you stimulate enough growth, everything else will fall into place, right? Well, not quite. If your start-up has experienced a lot of rapid growth recently, you’ll know that it’s something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’ll have better profit margins and a stronger platform for making a name for yourself. On the other, you’ll have to take care of a lot of scaling, which will mean managerial and organizational changes. Regardless of what your period of growth has done to your business, you need to be able to sustain these challenges. Here’s a guide to managing a rapidly expanding business…

Have a Medium-Term Goal, and Stick to It

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When you drew up your business plan, it’s pretty much a given that you set a range of short and long-term goals, but what about medium-term ones? When business owners totally overlook any medium-term milestones, it can cause all kinds of scaling problems which will come back to bite them in the future. Every good business plan should have a long-term vision and mission, which you’ll ultimately want your business to reach. You’ll need a wider range of medium-term objectives, which will support that end-goal vision, and are usually milestones set five to three years down the line. Then, there are short-term plateaus you should keep in mind – skills, accomplishments and experiences which you can achieve realistically in the next year. A lot of people at the heads of growing businesses become too wrapped up in the long-term, and change the direction of their venture far too frequently. Set yourself some medium-term goals, and stick to them!

Keep Your Customers Happy

You should be placing a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction no matter what stage your business is in, but it’s especially important to make sure you’re not getting distracted by scalability. Your customers are the people who will come up with the most relevant ideas, the most immediate feedback, and in today’s social media-oriented world, they’re increasingly happy to help. No matter how rapidly or drastically your business is changing, don’t sacrifice a formal process for constantly listening to customers, and acting on their input. Aside from holding an ear to the ground, you also need to make sure that you can keep a handle on delivery, back-end support systems, and order fulfillment in the midst of all this chaos. If your customers become dissatisfied with your performance, you’re going to have a very hard time retaining them, and continuing to grow at a healthy rate.

Think About Finances

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As your business expands at a fast rate, there are a range of financial implications which all need to be taken into consideration. As your business becomes larger and larger, your cash flow is going to become strained before it gets any better, so it’s a good idea to look for ways to save as much as possible. Recover any outstanding debts promptly, decrease prices wherever it’s practical, consider refinancing and borrowing money, offer up some rewards for prompt or upfront payments, and eliminate as much unnecessary overhead as possible. You may also be able to draw some savings from incorporating your business or registering it as a certain type of company. This can be done through services like yourcompanyformations.co.uk – registered formation agent . As more and more factors are added to your cash flow, you need to make it a priority to understand and manage those factors, and eventually manage all your income and outgoings with a “big picture” mindset. Financial growing pains have ended countless promising businesses over the years – don’t let yours become one of them!

Find a Good Mentor

Finding a good mentor, with a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur or executive in your field, can take a huge amount of the weight off your shoulders. You’ll be able to reap the benefit of their years in the business, and the advice of someone who’s been in the same position as you in the past. When you imagine a great entrepreneur, you probably don’t see someone who’s constantly asking for advice. However, you shouldn’t let your pride get in the way of the potential success of your business! Some of the most successful businessmen in recent history have developed on the advice of a mentor. Bill Gates had Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg had Steve Jobs. I don’t care how smart you are, or how disruptive your business idea is, find a mentor if it’s possible!

Surround Yourself with a Great Team

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Continuing on this theme of not thinking of yourself as a one-man-band, surrounding yourself with team members who are significantly smarter than you is essential for anyone who’s at the head of a fast-growing company. No matter how good your product, service or strategy is, if you don’t have a good team behind you, the rapid growth of your business can quickly become overwhelming. If the departments at your company are growing faster than you can handle, then choose the best minds you have available and give them positions as the heads of their departments. By doing this, you’ll be able to free up your time and invest it in your overall strategy. As these people become more familiar with their departments and senior roles, you should keep them in the loop about more executive decisions. Make them a part of the hiring process, and anything else that could impact their role.

Take Away While You Add

A lot of business owners think that once their company grows enough, they’ll have a lot more freedom and flexibility. As a matter of fact, scaling can actually be very restrictive. There’ll be all kinds of things that used to work, but won’t anymore, meaning that you’ll have to rub these out of your usual strategy. It’s only when your operation gets a little larger, you’ll realize that there are a range of things that have always been slowing you down, without you realizing it. Whether you axe paperback to revive the company or do away with things like performance reviews altogether, you need to be aware that certain things will need to go, and holding onto them will only drag your company down. Getting rid of performance reviews, for example, will mean that you’ll free your employees from a lot of tedious work, and redirect those people-hours to more pressing issues. Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes when they’re a gamble, provided that you’re certain you can make them pay off. If your grocery is on the verge of bankruptcy, but hiring greeters will reduce theft and improve sales, then go ahead and do it. If team meetings are too long and ineffective, don’t be afraid of being seen as a horrible boss by banning the use of phones! Whatever’s on the horizon, you need to stop resisting change, and choose the sacrifices you’ll have to make very carefully.

Wrapping Up…

Rapid growth, if you know how to handle it, can promise all kinds of great things for your business. However, if you approach it in the wrong way, it could be the thing that brings your promising idea to ruin. Going from managing a bootstrapped, fledgling start-up to a feverishly expanding business will require a lot of changes in your tactics, but through applying the strategies above and learning as you go, you’ll be able to assure a bright, successful future for your company!