Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but your business will experience some kind of failure at least once. Many of the obstacles it will face will occur during the first year, and then again when you are in the midst of expansion.
When it comes to expanding, there’s thousands of ways your business could fail. It could be from bad leadership, lack of motivation or simply not enough funding. Whatever the reason, a business
in trouble is not one that customers want to associate with, so you should be looking to avoid all these scenarios like the plague.
Many companies will have some idea of how to keep ahead of the game while they’re expanding, but it’s not always enough. To avoid becoming that business, take note from below and use these tips for expanding your business effectively.
Don’t Look for a Quick Fix
There are some hacks you can use for making sure your business expands well and at the right pace – but there are also “quick fixes” that will cause your business to fail. When something looks too good to be true it generally is, and just like with that £1 million cash prize promise that landed in your email box, you need to get rid.
Anything that seems like you don’t have to spend any money to expand will also be unlikely to be a realistic and long term promise. So instead of trying to skimp your way through an expansion, you should be willing to spend a decent amount of money – it will be a better investment in the long term after all.
Have a Strategy
If you’re hoping to blindly stumble onto an expansion then you should think again. Expanding a business doesn’t happen overnight. Will your business ever really stop growing? Only if you want it to. Be prepared to be in this for the long haul; otherwise you’ll be in for a shock.
Creating a strategy doesn’t have to take months, but you should put a lot of thought into it. You need to plan out how you’re going to grow every aspect of the business before you begin. Think of every scenario you can and have a plan for what to do if that happens. There is no such thing as over-planning!
When you’ve come up with your plan and you’re ready to start expanding the team, thank your employees first. These are the people who made your company what it is, so don’t overlook them when it comes to the recruitment process.
It will mean a lot for team motivation for you to thank your employees by recognising the hard work they have put into the business. Obviously, if you don’t think they’re suited to the job then you should consider bringing in someone new, but make it clear you’re thinking of their jobs too.
Grow When You Have To
It can be tempting to grow as soon as you think you have too many clients or when you’re missing one or two calls because you’re busy. When you should grow is dependent on each leader, each business and each industry.
The one consistent rule is that you should grow when you realise you’re spreading yourself too thin. This is when you really need someone new. There’s a certain sweet spot between expanding too early and expanding too late that can be hard to hit. The best way of trying to get it is by listening to your employees and by keeping aware of how busy you are.
Remember Your Mission
When you start to expand it can be daunting, infuriating and incredibly stressful. In all the chaos you might forget why you even began your business in the first place. What was the point? After all you’ve just created ten times more stress than you had working your old nine to five job!
When you start having late nights and early mornings and begin drinking twice as much wine during the week than you used to, it could be time to go back to basics. Not in terms of scrapping your business and starting again, but by remembering what drove you create the business, what your mission is and if you’re sticking to it.
If not, then think about how you can bring your business back to that, and take the necessary steps to make it a reality. You will find yourself ten times more motivated to expand.
Splashing the cash might help when you’re expanding, but make sure you’re spending it on the right things. If you’re spending excessive amounts of money on fancy furniture and none on your employees then you need to rethink your strategy.
If you want to spend money on a reward, speak to your colleagues and ask what they would like, rather than assuming. Be financially savvy and don’t expect to get a good return if that’s not what you invested.
Remember Your Employees
Employees can feel left behind when you’re expanding rather than embraced and excited about company growth. To get them motivated make sure they’re included in every process that affects them. Actions such as holding meetings or organising a team communication system (that’s less formal than email) can be a great way to get staff involved.
If you look after your staff, they will look after your business, so trust that they are well suited to their jobs and can move the company forward along with you. If you need an idea for growth make sure your port-of-call is always your employees – they will have the best ideas, after all!
Trust yourself! Change can be nerve-wracking, especially when it’s a business you’ve built from the ground up. If it’s linked to your name you certainly don’t want it to go downhill. The best person to decide what is right for the business is you!
Make sure you make educated decisions that have good reasoning behind them. If you don’t think you’re ready to move forward, don’t. Even if others pressure you to, only do it when you think the company is really ready. At the same time don’t shy away from the responsibility of expanding.
Have a Backup Plan
If you’re starting to expand and it doesn’t look like it’s going too well, make sure you have an escape route. You don’t want to be stuck with an expansion plan with no option to get rid. There can be multiple reasons why you want out of your expansion strategy; from employees leaving to unhappy customers, sometimes continuing to expand simply isn’t an option.
Know what you’re going to do when it goes wrong to avoid further failure, and to save your business from a fall. You can postpone your expansion until it’s a better time for your company, and until then simply keep your current customers happy.
What are your business growing tips? Leave a comment below and let us know!