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Growing your business

Growing your business

If your business has been profitable for two or three years and is running smoothly, you'll probably be trying to stifle the little voice in your head saying: "What now? I've come this far - I know I could do so much more...." The voice is probably right. You've defied the odds already.

Pushing your venture on to the next level means:

  • Selling more of the same to existing customers
  • Selling new things to existing customers
  • Finding new customers

Your experience should have given you a lot of confidence in your business judgements. And your track record will make some aspects of growth easier: negotiating terms with suppliers or arranging finance, for example.

But you will still need to go through the business-planning process again, which means re-examining the fundamentals, especially:

  • Is my business running at maximum efficiency right now?
  • Can I reach more customers at the right price?
  • Can my staffing and premises cope with growth, or will I need to move location and hire more staff?
  • Do I need to open a second shop or outlet? If so, how will I decide on the right location?
  • Have competitors come along since I started, and might they limit my potential for growth?

If it appears risky and expensive to expand, be sure to look at the other side of the coin, too - the costs of staying put. In particular:

  • Are there rivals doing the same thing now?
  • Have I saturated my market? If not, how much longer do I have?
  • Is the local demographic shifting in an unfavourable way (fewer children, more weekenders in the area, for instance)?
  • What other threats might jeopardise my venture? (a supplier retiring, new local planning restrictions, a competing service too close)

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