If you’ve been operating your small business for a while and your sales are going strong, it’s time to think about expanding your company. Here’s your guide to handling your upgrade like a pro.
1. Consult With Accountants
Before making any decisions, consult with your accounting team and a group of outside professionals such as Ageras. Ask about your current cash flow and whether you have enough savings to make major investments in your expansion. Based on your past financial patterns, do they think you’re approaching a slow season, or will your sales numbers hold strong for a while?
Don’t forget to talk to your accountants about your current level of debt, including credit card bills. If you’re planning to take out more loans, consolidating your existing debt may be your best bet. If you have lots of debt already, though, it may not be the best time to expand your business. After all, if you don’t keep up with your payments, your credit score drops, making it harder to take out future loans.
2. Develop Your Chosen Expansion Plan
Once your accounting team gives you a green light on your budget, it’s time to work out the logistics of your expansion plan. First, decide exactly what you want to do. Are you opening another branch of your company, building onto your current store, or offering more products? Based on your current sales, do your chosen updates seem like wise choices? Whatever you decide to do, make sure that your expansion meets your business’s and target market’s needs. Your investors are much more likely to agree to your plan if you can prove it’s necessary.
Next, make a list of all the tasks you need to do and assign a due date to each one. While creating a timeline may seem overwhelming, it’s critical for making sure that your business expansion actually happens. Don’t be afraid to delegate minor tasks to your team members so you can focus on big-picture issues.
3. Step Up Your Hiring Process
You’re probably going to need more employees to handle your expansion. You need more workers to handle manufacturing, more salespeople to promote your products, a construction crew to complete your renovations, or a combination of all three. Start your hiring process as soon as you’re sure how many employees you need and what you can pay them. Advertise aggressively through websites such as Indeed and Glassdoor, and give your human resources team all the information they need to choose the right candidates.
4. Start Your Marketing Campaign
For your expansion to succeed, people need to know about it. Work with your marketing team to create an extensive advertisement campaign months before your expansion finishes. Create blog posts updating your followers on the project, and post behind-the-scenes photos on your social media pages. Use the questions feature on your Instagram or Facebook story to field customers’ questions and take their suggestions. Make a new marketing video explaining your upgrades and how they will help your customers. As your expansion draws to a close, start offering promotions such as a buy-one, get-one sale to customers who visit your new location or try your latest products.
5. Monitor Your Short- and Long-Term Results
Most expansion plans take months or years to pull off, and constant monitoring is essential for making sure that your project doesn’t bankrupt you. Check in with your construction crew regularly to make sure you’re still on schedule, and ask your accounting team for updates about your budget.
Once your project is finished, continue to analyze its effects on your business. How popular is your new location or product, and do your increased sales make up for your expenses? If you were to expand your business again, would a similar project be appropriate, or do you need a new approach? Send out surveys to your customers asking for their opinions on your changes, and host town halls with your employees to hear what’s working and what needs adjusting.
Successfully expanding your small business is a long process, particularly if you haven’t updated your location or offerings since you opened. If you follow these five steps, though, you can grow your business like an experienced entrepreneur.