Growing Your Business … Are You Ready For Change?

February 20, 2017

Expansion is a natural progression for many small business.  Growing your business can occur in a number of ways, it may for be in the form of introducing a new range of products or services or opening in a new location.  Whichever strategy you are considering, the first question should be is growing my business right for me?

Expanding your business will more than likely change the nature and dynamics of your business.  If you are happy with the status quo; the hours you work, your staffing levels, your profit levels, then it is possible that expansion isn’t the right option for you.

To assist in answering this question, write down your personal and professional goals.  What is important to you?  Are you considering expansion for the wrong reasons?  If your goal is to spend less time working, expansion right now may not be the right option for you.  There are alternatives.  For example if your goal is to spend less time working in your business, consider hiring a manager.  If you want to increase profit, invest time in improving your processes and outgoings.  You may be able to increase profits through increasing efficiencies.

Growing your business: the risks

  • Growing beyond your capabilities
  • Growing beyond your staff’s capabilities
  • Growing beyond your suppliers’ capabilities
  • Exposing yourself (and your staff) to excessive stress
  • Experiencing a cost blow-out
  • Trading for turnover not profit
  • Suffering a cash flow crisis
  • Over-exposing your business to one major customer
  • Losing existing business
  • Exposing weak points in your operations

Managing the risks

Being aware of the risks will help you to make your decision and if you do decide growing your business is the path you want to take, having identified these risks you can now take steps to manage them through your growth phase.

Write down ALL possible risks you may encounter as a result in growing your business.

Then write down how you can minimise and manage each of these risks.  For example:

  • Carefully cost out all aspects of the expansion
  • Carefully monitor your cash flow
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin
  • Be wary of growing too fast
  • Don’t neglect your core business
  • Ensure all owners and key members of your business are involved in decision making
  • Seek professional advice for areas you have limited knowledge of
  • Take a good look at your existing systems and processes and identify those needing improvement (or documentation).

Consider the worse case scenario that could happen if you do grow your business.  Will your business survive this should you arrive at worse case?  If the answer is yes, honestly … the most successful people in the world are those who do take risks.  Don’t be afraid of failure.

Your business is operating in a constantly changing environment.  To stay competitive you need to be proactive and change with the industry around you.  This may not necessarily involve expansion but a stagnant business is not one that is great to work in, or own.  Whether or not you decide to grow your business, you do need to constantly step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself, your team and ultimately … your business.  You spend so many hours nurturing and driving your ‘baby’ … don’t lose sight of why you started your business.  If growth is the adventure you are about to embark on … best of luck!

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