You’ve come a long way. From thinking up a company name and logo to staying up late to clean your first physical store, there’s no denying that business has been good. In fact, it might be so good that you’re already thinking of expanding. The time feels right, and you know that you can overcome the challenges that business growth will bring.
Before you take action, however, it’s best to assess your situation carefully first. Growth corresponds to bigger revenues, yes, but it also means taking in more responsibilities. Think more employees and products, as well as better quality services. If you feel that you’re ready but want ways to make sure of it, then here are five questions worth asking yourself.
Has Your Space Shrunk?
This one is more a need than a preference. Think carefully about whether the answer to your question is rooted in practicality. To give you an example, a practical response takes into consideration the comfort and efficiency within your store or office. It could be that you have too many employees squeezed together in a limited office space, or you’re forced to refuse customers too soon after opening hour. When there’s little room to move in and you’re missing out on opportunities because of the tight space, then it may be time to grow your business.
The best way to do this is to chart your anticipated growth and never underestimate your capabilities. Transfer to a bigger space or open a new store that you’re sure you can handle with your existing funds and management skills. Otherwise, you’re just putting yourself in a risky situation.
Is It Too Challenging?
There are many ways to answer this one. If you feel that you’re overworked, then it could either be that you’re lacking in staff and must grow, or you’re not managing your operations well. Another perspective is in terms of skills. You may be faced with new essential tasks that are no longer within your capacity or expertise to perform. This could be social media marketing, app development, and similar work that you need but cannot deliver efficiently. When these demands arise and you need to outsource, then it’s a good sign that you’re ready to grow your business.
Start by investing in sales and marketing coaching services by reputable companies such as Chief Outsiders. By understanding the principles of the tasks you need to do and how to manage them even before you start hiring, you’ll be able to manage this aspect of growth better.
Do You Have The Funds?
This one is a given, but how do you determine the right amount and timing, exactly? Take a peek at your business funds and determine the sum you need to operate monthly. Multiply that by two, and add an excess if you want. The rest is the amount you could spend on expansion efforts. This could mean renovating your store to make it bigger, hiring new staff, finding a new location, or creating new products.
As a rule of thumb, you should consider making this move only when you’re confident of your revenues and everything is in order, financially and otherwise. It’s always tricky to handle money, especially as a business owner. To further foolproof your plan, consult with a professional who can give you insight into your financial capacities and business prospects.
What are Your Customers Saying?
Once is not enough. It has to be something you hear regularly from your patrons or from more than one customer. This could happen in response to your seating, products, or response time. Maybe your patrons are looking for more drinks to choose from or more diversity in the apparel you offer. Do you have regular customers who take the trouble of commuting all the way to your store just to purchase your goods? These are signs that you must at least look into your expansion options.
Is That Opportunity Right?
Opportunities come and go, and when something you really want becomes available, it could be tempting to just grab it. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you, though. Unless this is something you’re already prepared for, then it’s best to assess the condition of your business first. Are you really ready to buy your own building? Is it time to expand your brand’s services?
If the answer is yes because you’ve set your company in order to grab such opportunities, then by all means do so.
In case you ticked all the boxes, don’t expect that growth will come easily or swiftly. It takes time and patience to get used to the demands of a growing business. When you pace yourself correctly and have the right tools and expectations, however, you are in a better position to grow towards a more successful future.