Expanding your business can be an exciting venture. To ensure this endeavor is a success, it’s important to put as much time into planning and research as you did when you originally launched. The market has likely changed since you first opened your doors, so you’ll need a well-thought-out plan of development and implementation.
Revisit Your Business Plan
When you developed your original business plan, chances are you did a careful market analysis, examined your competition, evaluated consumer demographics, and took into consideration operating costs and detailed financial projections. Now is a good time to revisit your plan and evaluate what’s been successful, and what needs additional work. In particular, you’ll want to make sure your expansion plans will be financially viable. Putting together both short and long-term projections for growth, revenue and expenses can aid in this effort. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, writing a business plan is not only key for successful operations, but is essential if you’re seeking new venture funding.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
According to Entrepreneur, even if you have an existing marketing approach that’s serving you well, an expansion will mean you need to reach more consumers in a targeted fashion. This might mean stepping up advertising, launching a social media campaign, or even hiring an agency or dedicated in-house staffer to reinvent and manage your business image. You may also need to conduct a new market analysis for an expanding product line or conduct new consumer research to be sure you have an accurate picture of your target customer. Also take a look at your sales and marketing personnel needs, particularly if you’re expanding to areas that are new, or require a specific type of product or industry expertise you don’t currently have.
Consult an Accountant
Business expansion plans often leverage the equity of the existing business, so there are financial decisions you’ll want to make with careful consideration. Consult with a trusted financial advisor to ensure you have all of your financial ducks in a row. Put together operational cost projections, evaluate your existing debt load and revenue streams, and consider the price of borrowing money by comparison-shopping commercial business loan rates. If your expansion will mean an investment, it’s important to crunch the numbers to make sure you are fiscally sound before moving forward. This is especially crucial if you’re adding a new or unproven product line or opening an additional location.
Confirm Your Technology Infrastructure
When you’re expanding your business, it’s a good time to make an internal assessment of your technology needs, and upgrade as necessary. This can be an especially important investment if you have online operations of any kind. Reliable desktops, laptops, tablets and phones are a key element of business success, and you may be able to find exceptional savings through a manufacturer, particularly if you’re upgrading your entire office.
As a business owner, you are well aware that you’re on the clock 24/seven. As such, this is also a good time to update your home office, replace key pieces of technology to stay current and reliable, and renew and refresh your home office setting. You can find great buys on office furniture and accessories like printers and scanners by taking advantage of online deals and discounts. With an expansion underway, there are sure to be late nights working from home, so make that environment as comfortable and well-outfitted as possible.
Expanding a business is an exciting time that’s ripe with opportunity. Making sure you’re well-positioned in terms of your technology needs, infrastructure, personnel and marketing will help ensure your expansion gets off on the right foot.