When you own a business, you try to avoid making rash decisions that may have negative repercussions. That is one reason to put adequate thought and time into the bigger decisions while quickly handing the smaller ones. But, assuming your business is successful, how do you decide when it’s the right time to expand your business?
Here are some signs that it’s time to expand your business and take it to the next level.
1. You Have Loyal Customers
Obviously you aren’t going to expand your business immediately after you first open it. However, after building up your business, the time might be just right.
Do you have a large following of loyal customers? If this is the case, it may be time to consider adding a new product line or opening another store altogether. Loyal customers who are pleased with your products or services are probably already spreading the word. Let them help you even more by telling others about the new things you have to offer too.
2. Customers Ask for More
Have you had more than one customer ask for other products you don’t yet carry? If a great deal of them have, but you hesitated to add another line of business, it sounds like you need to quit putting it off.
Adding complimentary products or services can make your business take off in ways you never dreamed of. Pay attention to what your customers continually ask for. If you get a lot of requests for a certain item that goes along with what you already offer, consider adding to your product line to expand your sales.
3. Sales Are Strong
Are your sales steady and strong? If so, it could be yet another reason to expand your business. When you are having trouble fulfilling the requests of your customers with the products you have, adding something new can help. A friend of mine who owns a store in my hometown says, “You can’t sell it if you don’t get it on the shelves first.”
4. Profits are Consistent
Consistent profits are another sign it may be time to expand your business. If you are unsure, do an analysis of your sales over the last few years. Do you have surges in sales during certain seasons that carry you through the rest of the year? If so, expansion may not be the best option for you. But if instead your business is thriving and profits are unwavering, it might be the perfect opportunity to take your business to the next level.
5. You Can’t Get Everything Done
There are only so many hours in a day. If you are having trouble keeping up, it may mean expansion is inevitable. Instead of fighting it, hire help or outsource some of the work. You don’t want to miss deadlines or experience reductions in quality from trying to keep up with increased demand without correspondingly expanding your staff.
6. Lots of Leads with Barely Any Effort
When you’re getting a lot of business or sales leads without even trying it may be a sign you need to expand your business. At this point, it makes sense to either add to the number of items you are selling or add personnel to keep up with what you are already selling. Even though it can be nerve wracking to add on to your business, it may be necessary in order to continue to be successful.
7. You’ve Tapped the Local Market
What happens if you have pretty much tapped the local market in your area? How do you keep your business afloat? One way may be by expanding. That may sound backwards, but the point is to expand your business through the internet. If you need to add a certain number of clients to your business, for example, try setting up a mobile friendly website to attract them.
8. It’s the Right Time for You
You should not expand without some preparation and planning. Furthermore, when it comes to timing, you need to consider your own situation and needs. Expanding your business takes time and money, so you should not enter into it lightly. However, if you have planned sufficiently for expansion and the timing feels right, you should go for it.
9. Your Staff is Ready
If your business is large enough that you have hired staff to help you run it, are they equipped to help you expand? You may have to put an employee to work managing one business location, for example, while you work toward opening another. Having competent, loyal employees to assist you with business growth is another thing you will need if you are considering expanding your business.
10. Need More Space
When you need more space to accommodate the growing demands of the public for your products or services, you need to expand. You want to have enough room to be able to work efficiently and provide a quality product. If that can’t be done in your current location, it may be time to add on or move your operation.
11. The Industry is Changing
You stand to lose a great deal of money if you are selling a product or service that is no longer in demand. When that happens, you may have to change what you are doing and expand it in order to keep up.
For example, if you have a company that makes telephones, you may want to rethink it and produce cell phones instead. You need to pay attention to how the market is changing and growing as well as what the public wants and will buy. This can aid you in your decision about whether or not to expand your business.
12. You Have Good Leadership Skills
There’s a good chance expanding your business means taking on additional employees. You may have to deal with payroll taxes, employees who aren’t dependable, employee benefits, workers compensation issues, and more. If you are prepared to handle these issues, as well as leading a team of people, you may be ready for a business expansion.
13. You’ve Done What You’ve Set Out to Do
Sometimes in a business you have to take it in steps. Let’s say you have opened a business with certain goals in mind and have accomplished those goals. You may be asking yourself, “What comes next?” If that is the case and you have the money, it could be time to move toward the next goal of expanding your business.
14. You Already Have What You Need
If you have all of the necessary tools in place already, it may be an indicator that you need to go ahead and take the plunge to expand.
For example, if you have a drapery business and the building you are operating in is large enough, you may want to consider also selling blinds. For one thing, the products are complimentary. In addition, if you have the capital and staffing, it makes sense to branch out into this area rather than continually referring those requests to someone else.
In truth, when you own a business, there can be a lot of different signs pointing you toward expanding. If you continually find yourself wondering if it is time to expand your business, you may already know the answer.