If you are a small business owner, there will hopefully come a day when you ask yourself if it is time to expand, whether by opening another office, increasing your staff size, or diversifying your services or products. It might seem like the obvious answer is “yes!” but as owners of successful businesses like Hans Eckhardt Tuscon understand, it is important not to expand without first asking yourself some very important questions.
Is this the right time in your life?
With a successful business under your belt, you already know about hard work and a willingness to sacrifice. However, the last time you needed to put all of your energy and resources into your business may have been several years ago – perhaps even many years ago – and the chances are that your life is not the same now as it was. Perhaps since then you have married, had children, purchased properties, or gone back to school. These things may mean that it is more difficult for you to focus on expanding your business – you may not want to give up time with your children or partner, or you may be looking ahead to things like school tuitions or caring for ageing parents. Of course, not all expansion plans are the same, or will require the same level of commitment and financial resources – but you owe it to yourself to make sure that you reflect very carefully on whether you are prepared to do what needs to be done before you move ahead with an expansion.
Do you have a clear plan?
Speaking of plans, do you have one? More specifically, have you given careful thought to why and how you want to expand your business? It might seem to you that if you can grow, you should grow, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Just as when you started your business in the beginning, you need a well-thought out business plan for your expansion. This will be a pre-requisite of any financing arrangement for sure. Ask yourself if expansion is a requirement of your business plan – for example, do you need to expand because you have more business than you can handle at your current staffing levels? Or because you have a bicoastal customer base that could be better served if you opened another branch? Make sure you are expanding because carrying out your business plan requires you to expand – don’t expand just for the sake of expanding!
Can you build the right team?
Whether you expand in terms of products and services, new offices, or bigger staff, you may find that your business has grown beyond the ability of your current staff to handle. You may need new managers, a larger human resources team, new property supervisors, expanded technical support – the list goes on and on. You may need to train people to perform new roles, delegate functions that you currently perform yourself, or to hire new staff. Be sure that you can pull together – and afford – the right team to support the expansion before you take the plunge.
These are just some of the important questions that you should ask yourself as you think about growing your business to make sure that you are growing for the right reasons!