5 dead giveaways it’s time to expand your small business

By Henry Brown

Carving out your own successful business is a lot like raising a child – exhausting, joyful, sometimes challenging, but always worth it. It’s not for nothing that we often refer to our companies as our “babies.” Emotions become involved easily, so sometimes it’s harder than you may realize to make an objective decision on topics such as expansion. You may have focused so hard on getting the perfect business plan and making sure things stay afloat that you’re scared to upset things by pushing for more. Or you may be very ambitious to grow your company but unsure where/when to begin.

Expansion is a whole different skill set from the day-to-day operations you face, but it’s something you can easily learn. These five tell-tale signs will let you know that you’re ready to take that leap.

You don’t have customers; you have advocates

No business exists in a vacuum, and feedback from others is always a barometer it’s worth paying attention to. Your customers are your best measure of success, so use face-to-face feedback and social media listening to understand exactly how they feel about you. If a lot of people are passionate about what you stand for and the things you do, and you see a lot of requests for new locations or expansion of your services – take the hint. You have a customer base that is loyal and hungry for more, which is a good indicator that it’s time to ramp up operations.

[amazon_link asins=’1931945071′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e55388ac-b83e-11e8-a41c-af464e4642df’]You’ve outgrown your premises

It could be a start-up hub or co-working space. It could be a small factory and warehouse. Or it could just be your spare room or dining table. Wherever your office lives, if you’re bursting at the seams, it’s time to think expansion. Consider the steps you need to take on a practical level to achieve your move – is it a simple case of finding a commercial landlord and making the move into your own premises? Will you need to work with a supplier of specialist equipment such as northernmat.ca to upgrade machinery and meet the demands of expansion? Having a plan and, if necessary, financing in place is essential before you make any changes.

[amazon_link asins=’B00BPO76XY’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’00c103f1-b83f-11e8-8e60-c74371f8b211′]You have funding in place

Making an expansion usually requires some form of capital investment, as it usually involves unforeseen costs and outlay before increased profits start to materialize. Putting together a solid business case for investment is key, so put the groundwork in and evaluate options such as angel investors, business loans and government grants thoroughly.

Your staff are capable

So much of the success of your business is down to the people you work with. In an expansion situation, you and your team will have a lot of stress to contend with so you need to ensure you are surrounded with the most capable people for the job. Consider also the additional skills training that may be required if you take on new processes or product lines – these will need to be factored in to any financial projections.

You believe in your mission

Most importantly, make sure expansion is really going to give you what you want. Don’t chase it just to up your cash flow. Make sure you understand exactly why you are doing it. The road ahead can be tough at times. Be prepared!


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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