Is the question of business expansion quietly gnawing at you? Are you wondering whether that gnawing is an inspired instinct on the one hand or an overly ambitious hope on the other? The question “Should I expand my business” certainly isn’t one to be taken lightly. There are a lot of good indicators that tell you whether it’s time and they can be grouped broadly into 3 categories.
Are your customers frequently asking about new products—enough that you might need a larger brick-and-mortar location? Or maybe you run a restaurant and people are asking about different locations. As a business owner, you already understand that your existing customer base is your single best source of new business.
If the voice of that customer base is calling for more options, that’s a good sign that the time is right for expansion. Certainly you need to do some good market research and make sure you’re not just relying on a few anecdotal incidents involving random people.
But if reliable research and good data tell you that your current customers want you to expand, then you have a built-in base ready to support you.
Opportunity comes knocking
Sometimes circumstances fall into place to seemingly drop an expansion right into your lap. Maybe there’s a piece of commercial real estate that you’ve had your eye on with some tantalizing dreams about what you could do with it. Now that property is on the market. Is this an indicator that your time to expand may have come? Quite possibly.
The circumstances of the market in your industry can also fall into this category. Homebuilding companies may see a change in the cost of materials as an indicator for whether they should take on more business—and hire more people.
You’re losing the edge
When you started your business, you were hungry, ready to pounce on every opportunity and work for every possible new customer. There was a certain natural fear that, while uncomfortable, drove you to succeed every day. Now you’re an established business. That sharp edge that made you a rising force is now gone. It’s more comfortable, but it’s also dangerous.
A reality of any facet of life is this—we either move forward or we move backward. If you can’t identify concrete ways that you are moving forward… well, process of elimination tells you what direction you’re going. It means you risk getting complacent—and rest assured, there’s an up-and-comer who is as hungry as you once were.
Now there are other ways to keep your edge and keep moving forward besides business expansion. However, if you’re in a position where you’re making consistent profits that can be reasonably forecasted to continue, then you have your cushion.
It’s up to you whether you want to springboard off the cushion to greater heights or settle lazily into it.