Whether you are director for business development for a large company like Joseph Cianciotto, or the sole owner of you own small business, there will come a time at which you will need to ask yourself whether the time has come for you to think about expanding. This can be an especially challenging undertaking for a business, and it is one that should be carefully considered before taking the plunge. Here are just some of the questions that you should ask yourself about whether you should be thinking about expansion.
Is expansion part of the plan?
Before thinking about expanding, it is important to understand whether expansion is a part of the long-term business plan or whether you are thinking about expanding just because it seems like a good thing to do. As an exercise, ask yourself what would happen if you did not expand. Would you lose clients or opportunities if you carried on at the current level of operations? Now ask yourself why you think you need to expand. Is it because you have reached the limit of your ability to grow your client base? Have you run out of office space or storage space and for that reason cannot accept more orders or clients? Have you reached previously planned for goals and are now ready to take the business to the next level? Whatever your answers, be sure that a decision to expand is part of a plan and that the decision not to expand would have a negative impact on your business.
Are you willing to effectively start over?
Thinking back to the amount of time, money and personal sacrifice that was required to get your business established, you need to ask yourself if you are prepared to do that again. Business expansion often means taking a step back in terms of financial independence because you may need to take out loans or otherwise raise capital to finance the expansion. This may put you back were you started in terms of being beholden to investors or creditors.
Additionally, expansion will be every bit as time-consuming as it was to start the business in the first place, and perhaps even more stressful because now you have something to lose. Are you ready to jump back into that pressure and take on the stress of expanding our business? Be sure to carefully evaluate your personal situation, including family obligations. Are you prepared to put other goals or interests on the back burner for a while if needed?
Do you have the right team?
If you are considering opening a second store or office, or expanding into another city or country, the staffing needs could be considerable and quite specialized – unless you are planning to be directly and regularly involved in all of your businesses locations, you will need to have trusted and skilled people to take over a great deal of responsibility. Be sure that you can count on the team you currently to take on these new responsibilities, or that you can hire and train new staff as needed.
Taking the decision to expand your small business should be the result of careful thought, planning, and evaluation. Once the decision is make, questions like how to finance the expansion and how it will proceed can be taken with confidence.