When it comes to business expansion, business owners face a daunting challenge. Is now the right time to expand your enterprise? If not now, when? What type of expansion makes the most sense–new customer acquisition, upgrading or launching a new product line or opening a second retail location? The choices may feel overwhelming at first. But it doesn’t have to be – if you watch for signs that expansion really is the wisest move in the months ahead.
As Forbes notes, while “no single factor can dictate success or failure in business expansion,” intuition plays a key role, “knowing precisely which signs to focus on and follow in planning your business’s growth.” Here are widely acknowledged key factors that indicate successful business expansion could be on the horizon.
An increased demand for your products or services indicates the need for a new growth strategy. (Of course, by “need,” we mean an ongoing demand from customers, not a one-time or seasonal spike in sales.) A new, more effective marketing strategy could generate such demand. As is often the case, an increased cadre of repeat customers know what you have and want more of it.
It’s not enough to focus only on what’s happening within your own organization. Successful business owners closely monitor industry-related forecasts and trends in order to gauge potential challenges and opportunities that might lie ahead. In fact, the more often you engage in this market analysis, the more knowledgeable you become at detecting small or significant shifts within the industry that can favorably impact your business.
Keep an eye on the big picture. Watch for signs of slowdown in the national economy or, conversely, indicators that consumption might soon be on the rise. Armed with this information, you can embark on a growth plan based on a solid foundation.
Healthy cash flow
As every business owner knows, cash flow is the lifeblood of any enterprise. While entrepreneurs may struggle at first to master this key element, businesses that enjoy success in the marketplace often find themselves with sufficient funds to explore new avenues of growth.
So while “cash can be consumed by any number of incremental expenses,” notes Inc., when you’re “confident that you can cover additional outlays and can weather any number of storms … then your prospects for growth look awfully good.”
Business owners continuously grapple with the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality talent. But if you’re fortunate enough to have a strong workforce in place, the moment could be right for expansion.
Take time to identify your current top performers. Look for ways to encourage their development. Maybe add training and development sessions. Through more access to technology and other resources, your employees will become more effective in their jobs.
Clearly communicate your company’s mission and objectives. This way, each of your skilled employees will understand where they fit in the bigger picture.
Hungry for a Challenge
When you first start out, every aspect of the business represents a challenge. The owner of a successful business might feel like they need a new challenge. What was once exciting has become a daily grind. If you “are actually bored, your business has probably reached a plateau and it is time for you to grow it,” says the UPS Store.
As noted, successful business expansion relies upon a number of factors. But if your business is presently doing well–and all indications show that consumer demand will remain consistently high–don’t put off making plans for growth. No business can afford to “run in place.” Opportunities for expansion don’t come along every day, so it’s critical to recognize positive signs and take action as soon as possible. A bright future lies ahead!