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Ready to Grow? 5 Ways to Assess Your Readiness and Plan for Expansion

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Ready to Grow? 5 Ways to Assess Your Readiness and Plan for Expansion

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: August 30, 2012

Do you know where your company is headed? How do you know when it’s time to grow? How can you manage that growth so it doesn’t run away with you?

In this five-minute video – Strategies for Growth – SBA, in partnership with Dell, talked to Carey Wilson of the Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center. He offers the following five valuable tips for preparing your small business for growth.

1. When is it time to grow your business?

You can only grow when business indicators show that you are ready for growth – and these vary by industry.

As Wilson observes: “If a retailer or restaurant is finding great acceptance of their product or service offering, that owner may say I'm successful here. Let me find another market with the same demographics; I've got the financial stability to grow this business.”

Other industries, of course, would look at different indicators to mandate growth and re-capitalization. For example, in the R&D sector, product development success or gaining approval from a government regulator would be indicators. For many small businesses, clinching a big sales deal can also be a signal for quick growth.

And how do you plan for that growth? As Wilson continues, planning for growth involves “a constant reassessment of all operational aspects of the business,” from day-to-day operations, to an expansion of marketing, market penetration, hiring and the staff skills needed to grow the business.

2. How can you guide your growth?

As with starting and managing your business, a business plan is essential for planning the steps needed to achieve your vision and exploit your business potential.

It starts with a foundational business plan that the entrepreneur used to get the business off the ground...” explains Wilson. However, since things never go quite as planned, so it’s important to reassess things in a different light than you did in start-up mode. Wilson suggests revisiting your foundational business plan “with an eye to growing capitalization, staff and market size.

  • Ask yourself the following:
  • How is the capitalization working?
  • Where did the initial capital come from?
  • What did it cost?
  • How current are you in paying it back?
  • Do you have the capacity to take on more capital?
  • What skill sets do you lack or need in order to run a larger business?

As you fine-tune your business plan, you should consider the audience for the plan. Any business plan needs to address all the stakeholders in a business – from those who are providing the capital to outsourced agencies to your management team. As Wilson explains: “Any entity or person that has a stake in that business is an audience for the business plan.” So your plan needs to be “broad-ranging and complete, with every single aspect of the operation fully documented and strategized.”

Last but not least, revisit your plan on a quarterly basis to compare where you are versus where you want to be.

For more business planning tips read How a Simple Business Plan can Get you from A to Z, and Navigate all Things In-Between.

3. Think big picture

Strategic planning is essential to business growth. But what's the difference between a strategic business plan and an operational plan?

Strategy is really about answering the fundamental questions of why you're in business: What's our business? Who's our customer? Why are we special? Why are we better than our competition?” explains Wilson. “A strategic plan really places you in the marketplace.” A day-to-day operational plan, on the other hand, is all about laying out the tactics for using your business resources to accomplish your strategy.

4. Get help with your growth plan  

As Wilson points out in the video, there are many online and in-person resources available to help business owners keep tabs on and update their business plan. For example, check out SBA’s business planning guide as well as these useful business planning video tutorials. SBA guest blogger and business planning expert Tim Berry, also contributes many blogs on this topic.

You can also get help in your community from various resources. For example, Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and Women’s Business Centers nationwide all provide advice and mentoring to help you with your business plan.

5. Finance your business expansion

We write about financing frequently at SBA.gov and there are many options to help small business owners fund growth – from commercial bank loans to SBA-guaranteed loan programs. Another increasingly popular option are private sources of capital, typically from outside investors, crowdfunding ventures and even borrowing from friends and family.

Related Blog

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

These useful tips on real to me, to our business needs a solid support and advisory help from the SBA. Thank you
Business growth and expansion is a strategic undertaking...especially if you are running on a tight budget or with few staff members. When we started our funding operation, we made sure to follow similar steps mentioned in this article. Planning is paramount to the success of business growth. At small business funding, we had our plan ready in advance for investors and partners. For those that don't have investment money available, there are bank loans, SBA options, and alternative solutions from companies like mine.
Thanks for this great article...i still believe if you provide value and excellent customer service, your business will grow...You guys should read the Thank you economy by Gary Vaynerchuk...
I'm sorry but commercial bank loans are not suitable for small businesses just because they search entrepreneurs ready to assume all the risks and the bank to have only the safe, constant income from interests. One solution could be to making a permanent and recurrent relation customer/business relation that will keep you away from any bank
Such useful tips for me as an entrepreneur. Really excited waiting for the day when i can grow the business. Thanks!
If you are booked a year in advance, if you are working 12+ hours a day and have lots of work -those are some of the signs I saw when I thought about expanding. It worked great. It's not easy,but great financial reward is there with hard work and smart business strategies!
Thanks for sharing the useful information. Food Delivery Online will keep updated with the same.
Thanks for sharing an interesting post with us. After reading your post, I know about the 5 ways to access readiness and plan for Expansion. I really it.
Really awesome one!!!!!!!!Thanks for the share..........It would really benefited to those who wanna start their business......Really good tips. Thanks
These are very good ideas of the businessman who don't have access to consultants to give them advice.....thanks

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