Every small business eventually reaches a plateau. When your business starts doing really well and you feel rushed of your feet with new customers, your first thought is often, “It’s time to expand!” It’s important that you don’t just jump straight into opening that second premises and first take a cool and calm look at some crucial elements of your business. Before you consider an expansion, consider assessing the health of your business to try to determine whether it’s actually ready for growth. To help do this there are some important questions you need to ask yourself:
Can my business run without me?
This could be rephrased as; can my business be easily duplicated? If all hell breaks loose when you are not present, your business cannot be expected to operate well without you. For your business to be ‘self-sufficient’ you need great internal processes and work flows and systems of management that are clearly outlined and understood by your team. You’ll need documented processes to train new employees, replicate your services at other locations and ensure consistent quality.
Is my Industry and/or market growing?
Not only is your own growth important but of equal importance is the growth of your market. It might sound obvious but a business needs the space into which it can grow. Ways you can test if your market is expanding includes if customers are asking you to grow. Take a look at the geographic breakdown of your customers and see how far a-field they are based…if you spot a growing trend of new customers coming from further away it might be a sure fire indicator of an untapped market. You must also combine this with detailed analysis of any competitors anywhere you have considered a potential location for expansion. It goes without saying that anywhere with fewer competitors increases your likeliness of success.
Do I have a strong team of employees?