If business is booming, it can be tempting to think that this is the perfect time for growing your small business. But before you take the next step, have you thought about whether your business is actually ready to expand?
Here are a few things to consider before growing your small business, so you can make sure it expands safely and sustainably.
1. Is there demand, and can you keep up with it?
Demand plays a huge part in the success of small businesses.
Firstly, you have to make sure there is enough demand. Just because your products have been selling well recently, it doesn’t always mean there will be long-term demand for them. Consider your audience’s shopping habits, how much competition you have from other businesses, and how your sales have been growing over time.
Secondly, if there is plenty of demand for your products or services, are you able to meet this demand? Make sure you have enough stock (or the capacity to produce more if required), enough time in your diary to deal with the increase in orders and the ability to provide a top quality service to every single customer.
2. Are you in a position to hire staff or freelancers?
As you are planning on growing your small business, one thing to think about is whether you may need some help. When the business begins to expand, it’s likely you’ll no longer be able to do everything by yourself.
You could hire a full time member of staff, a freelancer to help with a specific aspect of the business, or a virtual assistant to take all the admin tasks off your to-do list. Whatever you decide is the best option for your business, make sure you have money set aside to pay them, as well as space in your office for them to pop in if necessary.
Read more about the Pros and Cons of hiring staff for your small business.
3. Is your office or workspace big enough?
When growing your small business, it’s likely that the amount of physical space you need will grow too! Whether you need to add extra desks for new members of staff, or need another stockroom to store more products… do you have the space?
It may be time to upgrade from a home office to a dedicated office space, or look for a larger workspace than you have currently. But remember, this may be costly. Ensure you put money aside every month to cover additional costs.
Even though your small business is growing, you may not see an increase in profits immediately. It’s important to invest in resources – such as larger office space or new staff members – which will ensure your business grows sustainably and remains successful long into the future.
4. Can you offer good customer service?
One thing many people love about small businesses is the excellent, personal customer service. But as you are growing your small business, will you still be able to offer this to every single customer?
Make sure you don’t stretch yourself too far as your business expands. Leave enough time to reply to every customer query, and always try to make every customer feel valued. Whether your business has five customers or 5,000, they should all receive the same level of great service.
If you’re struggling to keep up with it all, it may be time to set up a dedicated customer service helpline or email address, and hire someone to help you with this.
5. Will you be able to keep up with your marketing?
When you’re busy, one of the first things to slide is your own marketing. But how will your business continue to grow if no one knows about you? Self-promotion is vital when growing your business in a sustainable way.
An important thing to consider before growing your small business is whether you’ll have the time and resources to keep up with your current marketing. If not, I’d recommend hiring a marketing professional to help you ensure things like your social media, email newsletters, and website SEO remain up to date.
Find out about the 7 reasons to hire a marketing consultant for your small business.
6. How much can you automate?
To make things as easy as possible when growing your small business, automate as much as you can. Streamline your processes to ensure you can concentrate on providing a great service, rather than getting bogged down doing lots of little tasks.
Things you can automate include…
- Set up an automatic email to go out every time a customer places an order, with all the information they need about delivery, set-up, support etc
- Schedule your social media in advance with a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer
- Use an accounting system like QuickBooks to send out automatic invoice reminders
- Set up a Google Analytics report so you’ll automatically get a weekly update of your website stats
- Schedule email newsletters about sales or new products using a service like Mailchimp
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Grow Your Small Business & Keep on Track
The Pros and Cons of Hiring Employees for Your Small Business
Where to Get Small Business Support in Edinburgh
Small Business Growth: 7 Ways to Ask the Right Questions