Small businesses are always pressured by competitors to expand and grow beyond their initial customer base. That’s the only way to stay competitive and it often requires business owners to reconsider what the main goal of their enterprise is.

This can be difficult to accomplish because once a business infrastructure is set up, expanding too fast can leave you strapped for cash or manpower. That’s why it’s best to plan to grow and expand your business from day one and have a proper management structure in place when it is needed.

Medium-term goals

The most important thing about planning for growth is to have a medium-term goal and this is often the hardest thing to do as well. Short-term goals are usually defined by the immediate needs of the company and long-term ones are more of an idea than a plan.

Medium term plans, however, are about the actual objectives that you can accomplish within a given time frame. It’s important not to keep this vague and general but go into details and have actual steps you can take and have them written down.

Cash requirements

The old saying goes that you need to spend money in order to make money. When you expand your company quickly, you might end up with new and unexpected costs in terms of infrastructure and employees. More revenue doesn’t always mean that you have more cash at hand and this can become a problem.

Before making a move that could affect your business dramatically, it’s best to analyze how it will affect your cash flow and whether you are ready for it. If not, there’s no reason to delay your plans – you should consider taking out a loan to support the expansion. Optimize your finance processes in order to reduce the cost and time of your business growth.

Automation and outsourcing

The changes in technology, especially related to communication, are making things much easier for small businesses. They allow business owners to automate and delegate tasks that can be done by an algorithm and focus on decision making and actually growing their companies.

When the business grows beyond what you’ve initially planned, it’s best to outsource lead generation and appointment setting. This can allow management to handle broader issues such as getting new business and to focus on core business activities.

Employees

Employees are the most important part of any business. It can’t grow or even stay afloat if you don’t have a team that can handle the job. This is something you need to think about before growing a company beyond its current capacity. Otherwise, you might leave your employees overworked and tired and that’s how mistakes get made.

There are a lot of ways to attract the best employees, but none as important as paying a decent salary and providing a good and welcoming corporate culture to work in.

Keeping the customers you have

It’s important not to lose the customers and the relationships you have while building new ones. That’s often difficult to do because markets are dynamic and complicated, and as soon as you change something about your business model, you lose some of your client base. The best way of preventing this from happening is to put extra emphasis on customer support and customer satisfaction.

Loyalty sales and loyalty programs seem like a simple, old technique but they are effective and you should stick with them. Those who remain with your company for years should be rewarded for trusting and supporting you.

Don’t go overboard

Too much of anything isn’t good for you. This is true for business growth as well. It’s perfectly fine to have ambitious goals and to want your company to get bigger every year. However, changing too much too fast may leave your business worse off, because you don’t have the infrastructure to support the change or a strong customer base to rely on.

Make sure to analyze your company and its performance on regular bases in order to know if you should dial you plans down a bit.

Small businesses need to grow and expand in order to stay profitable. However, this growth needs to be closely managed and prepared for.

Posted by lauren wiseman