Congratulations! Profitability looks good and customers are happy so it’s exciting that you are thinking about the next stage of growth for your business.
However, it’s important to remember that you need to ensure you have planned carefully for growth. Getting it wrong, can at best, set you back a few months, as you have to fix some unknown variables that weren’t considered at the time.
Here’s how you can determine if you’re ready for the next step.
You have growing market share in your niche.
Have you grown quickly into a niche market that now allows you to move into an adjacent segment, or do you have little competition and a large, untapped customer base? If so you have better odds for successful growth. You may also have to evaluate and test the marketing channels you are currently using; to ensure they are the most effective to reach new customers. Using the wrong channels will eat up budget, and more importantly time, that would have created a greater result if used elsewhere.
Your business has more customers than you can currently handle.
This can be the most obvious indicator that you’re ready for growth. However, you should be wary of not confusing a fantastic month or two, with a sustained increase in business. Check on your historic monthly numbers to ensure you can identify a constant growth curve. This way you can be confident that your business is connecting to more customers and not just a short sales spike.
You’re meeting your business plan goals and KPI’s.
It’s great to have a business plan, but how close to you to meeting the KPI milestones you have set? If you can see that you are ahead of time on your KPI’s, then maybe the time is right to speed up your plans. If you’re falling short a little, then perhaps you can reassess before you make any new growth plans. You shouldn’t scrap any growth plans you have, but consider altering your timeline.
You have enough capital to invest.
This is the easiest question to answer. Quite simply, do you have the money to be able to put your growth plans in place? You need to ensure that you have enough working capital to invest in anything you need to accommodate the extra business you will get. Potentially you can look at grants or outside investors to help.
Your team is solid and performing.
Picturing your business 5 years from now, can you see your current team being the group that is going to grow with you? If your answer is no, then now is the time to think about developing the skills of your team members further and looking at strategic hires to fill skills gaps that you know the business will need.
You have the right IT in place.
When growing your team, you want to get your new employees up and running faster with the tools they need. Identifying and getting the right solution that scales with your growth is important and staff have time to get used to it before the pressure is on. With growth strategies, predicting how much is enough when it comes to capacity for file storage and the applications you’ll need is tricky. Go for systems (often cloud based) that support growth that help everyone get more done and offer flexibility.
Your lifestyle can handle the potential extra workload.
There may be plenty of clear signs that your business is ready for growth, but successful growth can be tough to achieve if you’re not personally ready for the accompanying commitment. In the short term expansion can put increased pressures and workload on you until you have new hires or a solid team in place. Are you ready? Be very honest with yourself. Expansion can affect not only your business but also your personal life, your family and even your health.
Growing your business is an exciting time. It’s the sign that all those decisions you and your team are making are pushing you towards the goals you have set. Hopefully these tips will help you get your growth plan in place and in progress. Onward!