Expanding your business is an important step in your success, but it's also important that you do it right. Too often, companies try grow without establishing a foundation first, or they have a foundation but they still move too fast and bite off more than they can chew. Keep the tips below in mind to avoid some common pitfalls while growing your business.
The first thing to ask yourself is whether the time is right. It's great to be ambitious, but you don't want to expand before there is a demand for it or when you don't have the resources in place to handle expansion. For example, let's say you're a restaurant owner. If you're struggling with too little space to accommodate the popularity of your place, then expansion might seem like a no brainer. On the other hand, you don't want to do it without the staff and the system to handle more customers. If you aren't sure whether or not it's time, try doing some market research, surveying your customers about their wants and needs. You should also take a look at your competition and what they are doing. If you expand now, can you continue to be competitive with them?
It's also important to have your finances in order. Growth can make you a lot of money in the long run, but it can be expensive in the short run. You also need to have your finances well-organized so that you are able to track your progress and make sure that your growth stays on track based on your projections. You may want to look at ways to reduce your personal expenses in case you need to shore up any temporary gaps in your company's finances with your own money.
It's also just a good idea in general to have your own finances in order before you take a business risk. You should track your spending, create a budget, and look at ways to cut back on your expenses. Aside from the usual ways, such as eating out less, you can look for more inventive ways to save money as well. You could look to refinance your student loans with a private lender and pay less each month going forward.
A common mistake that people make when they start to expand their business is losing their focus. This can manifest in many different ways, so you need to be particularly careful. Maybe you've got the demand, the resources and the money to expand, but you're trying to spread yourself across too many product lines or services. Maybe you've lost sight of your goals.
Another common problem is an inability to focus on one idea, getting distracted every time a new one comes along. Similarly, you may try to do too much on your own. Trying to do everyone's jobs rather than delegating can leave you unable to perform the high-level tasks that need to be your main focus. Before growing your business, sit down and think about your goals, how the expansion will help you accomplish them and what things you and others need to do in order to succeed. Periodically, go back and review this document to be sure that you stay on track.
One of the most effective leadership traits to grow your business is communicating with your team, since they are the people that keep your business moving on a daily basis. If your staff need extra training to prepare for the next stage, be sure that you provide them with what they need as well as any tools. Be sure to get input from them as well. They may be able to offer perspectives that you don't have access to simply because of the job they are doing each day. You should also talk to your staff about why you're going to expand. This will help them get on board with the changes, but be sure to frame it in a way that demonstrates how it will benefit them. For example, if you're going to bring in more revenue, be sure to emphasize how you'll pass that profit on to them.