An OPEN Forum reader contacted me recently. She runs a very stable small business that has a cash flow that's been incredibly steady for years. She has no business debt at all at this point and is actually accumulating a pretty solid war chest for the future.
So what's next? Where should she go from here?
It's a thought process that many people go through when their small business reaches a plateau of success. Should we stick with what we have? Should we attempt to grow the business slowly with minimal risk? Or should we try to strongly grow the business for big future success?
A big part of that question comes down to personal goals. What do you want out of your business? Are you happy with where things are right now? If you're content with the things that you have responsibility for right now, and the thoughts of the big responsibilities you would have to take on with expansion do not appeal to you, there's no reason to not just continue doing what you're doing now. Enjoy it, collect your profits, and live happily ever after.
On the other hand, perhaps your dreams are big and you just need a little push to convince you to go for it. If you're in this place (which is where the reader that contacted me appears to be), the best thing to do is to seek out an adviser or a mentor. Lay out your entire business state before them, along with what you'd like to do with your business in the future. Listen to what that person has to say and take it seriously. Such a person can give you truly impartial advice about whether or not it makes sense to grow your business.
Another option, if your cash flow is steady, is to invest that money in other ways. Invest that money into other business ventures, perhaps even as seed money. This would provide a perfect opportunity for you to serve as a mentor or adviser for that fledgling business, an entirely different kind of challenge.
To put it as simply as possible, if you have a war chest and a steady cash flow, you have a lot of options before you. Now is the perfect time to sit back, think about what you want to do, and consult the people and advisers you trust in your life.The question isn't "what can I do?" The question is "what do I want to do?" Open the doors, do some soul searching, talk to your advisers, and don't be afraid to take the next step.