Expanding Your Business: 4 Hard Truths to Consider Asking Yourself Before You Start

Can you handle expanding your business? Consider asking yourself these four hard questions before you open a new location or enter a new industry.
Marketing Editor, OPEN forum
June 24, 2016

The future of your small business may depend on finding new ways to grow—but how do you know when your company is ready for growth? Here are some questions you may want to consider before you jump into expanding your business.

Are You Following Your Gut or Market Research?

Successful small-business owners can have the ability to spot a need in the market and fill it. However, when you are expanding your business, you may want to rely on more than just your gut. Take the time to examine the market; you do not want your new location to poach sales from your first location. Is there a need in the market for another location? Being sure that you're expanding your business for longevity, and not an ego boost, can be helpful in ensuring growth and success.

How Is Your First Location Doing?

Before you can grow your business, you may want to be sure that the existing location is thriving, not just surviving. Consider doing a thorough assessment of your first location before finding another. What made your first location successful? What strategies didn't work? While each location will come with its own challenges, consider applying your knowledge from the first location to the next.

Can Others Be Taught to Run Your Business?

Whether you are looking to open a franchise or add another location to your business, you’ll need to hire staff that can support you. Do you trust your current staff? Do you have a trustworthy manager? Making sure that you have the right employees who can take care of business while you are away can be beneficial to the success of your new location. As your business grows, you may have to focus more on big picture strategy rather than day-to-day activities of the company.

Do You Have a Plan If Your Expansion Doesn’t Succeed?

While failure is the last thing you may want to consider, being realistic and having a backup plan isn't a bad idea. Do you have any savings? Will you be able to cover your bills if your expansion fails? Before jumping into business expansion, consider taking some time to brainstorm worst-case scenarios that can hit your business and plan for them. It may be helpful to hire a lawyer to help discuss the options for your business.

Read more articles on planning for growth.

Photo: iStock
Marketing Editor, OPEN forum