Things to Think About When Expanding Your Business

Business expansion is an exciting prospect. Maybe you’re so busy with orders you need to think about employing someone to help. Maybe online sales have boomed, and you need more storage space for stock. Maybe you’re branching out and need more professional and dedicated office space.

There are all kinds of reasons why business owners decide the time is right for expansion, and it’s easy to get carried away with visions of the bright future a bigger, more successful business will herald.

Before you make a firm decision, sign on any dotted lines, or commit your valuable time and resources, take a small step back and make sure you’ve considered these important points.

business planning

Your Personal Readiness
Are you considering expansion because it’s what you really want, or because you just feel it’s the next logical step and everyone says you should?

To some extent, we’re all influenced by those around us. Whether it’s from personal acquaintances or those on social media, the concept of ‘success’ can get skewed. It’s very easy to be persuaded into an action that isn’t really what you want.

So, before you dive into expanding a small business, make sure it’s something you personally want. You’ll have more responsibility and probably more work, so this needs to be for you, not to impress other people.

Your Goals
Pinpoint exactly why you need or want to expand, going beyond the need for space, staff, or bigger profits. Your ultimate goals could include:

· Reaching more customers or making your name and brand better known in the community, country or even the world.

· Having more suitable office space. Not necessarily bigger, but maybe more centrally located, one with better transport links or that’s closer to supporting amenities.

· Taking on bigger, more lucrative, or prestigious clients or commissions.

· Working more efficiently or freeing up more of your personal time.

Knowing what your end goals are can lead you towards the best decision to achieve them, and it may not be down the path you originally thought of.

An example could be needing help with admin to free up your time. Do you really need an office and employees, or would a freelance virtual assistant achieve the same objective? If you’re running a home-based retail business and need more stock space, would self storage for business be a cost-effective way to expand your range?

Is your business up to date with technology?
It's vital that your business is up to date with the current technological trends. This will ensure your business stays relevant and in line or ahead of its competitors. Whilst the idea of artificial intelligence might seem futuristic, actually the future is here and a vast number of businesses use this technology to ensure they are giving the best service possible to their customers. Industrial Vision Systems can advise how to use artificial intelligence to stay ahead of the game, protect your brand and lower costs. 

Your Available Funds
Obviously other factors come into play, such as available funding. Expansion can be expensive to get underway in the short term, so as well as pinpointing what your main goals are, temper your ambitions in line with your bank balance.

Carefully cost everything you’ll need to buy to set your expansion in motion, then add a bit because there are always things you hadn’t originally thought of. It can help to get some expert advice to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.

Higher Future Expenses
A bigger business is going to demand more financial input to keep it going. Whether it’s from payroll, better offices, bigger stock rooms or workshop spaces, your monthly outgoings will be higher.

If the goal is to increase your reach and brand awareness, you’ll also probably have greater marketing, advertising, and promotion costs.

Bear it all in mind, and research ways to minimise the expense. You can trim office expenses, for instance, by looking at flexi offices that offer all the professional services without sky high rents, VAT, or business rates.

Another thing to factor in is the potential for disruption during the early phases of expansion. Productivity might take a dip while you get organised, so make sure you hold some funds in reserve to see you through any lean times while you build the bigger business.

Additional Funding

While we’re talking about financial safety nets, it’s a good idea to let your bank manager in on your expansion plans. Whether you want to borrow today or think you might in

the future, discussing your ideas with your potential source of financial help can either boost your confidence or help you put the brakes on if need be. Either way, you’ll know where you stand and not be shooting in the dark.

If you use an accountant, get their input too, as they might have new ideas you haven’t considered. Even if they can’t offer any advice, they can make sure your books are up to date so you have an accurate financial report for when you approach your bank.

These are all big, important questions that need answers. and careful thought to find the expansion route that’s right, for both you and your future business success.

When you feel fired up and raring to go, stepping back for a moment’s thought is quite hard. Doing it, though, sets you up for the results you’re aiming for.

*Collaborative post