Deciding when or if to expand your small business can be a nerve-wracking prospect.
If you expand too soon or too fast, you could end up losing the momentum you've built up over the life of your business, causing it to stagnate or fail.
On the other hand, there are a few clear signs that it's time to take the plunge. Here are five >>>
1. You're Making Consistent Profits
If your profits have leveled out, and you've been making consistently the same amount for some time, your business might be ready for growth.
Even better is if your cash flow and capital have increased to the point where you won't have to look for loans to expand.
2. You've Built a Solid Customer Base
Your customers are your most important asset. If you've built up great relationships with your client base, and have plenty of repeat business, it's time to start looking for new customers to target.
This could mean moving into a different market, or just adjusting your advertising strategy to reach a new sector of potential clients.
3. You Can't Keep Up With Demand Anymore
If you're starting to miss deadlines because you have too many orders, it's likely time to grow your business to meet demand.
If your company is too small to keep up with a growing client base, your customers are going to start looking elsewhere for someone who can meet their needs.
Likewise, if your production team is having trouble creating enough product to satisfy customers, you should start looking for expansion opportunities.
Waiting too long to expand when you're struggling to keep up with orders will affect your employees' morale and overall productivity. You could consider expanding to a new location, or just add more workers to your current production line.
4. You Need to Add Products or Locations to Keep Your Customer Base
If your customers are starting to show signs that they want new products and more convenient locations from you, it may be time to consider your business growth.
Adding a location across town may cut down on travel time for customers, encouraging them to stay with you -- and, even better, may attract new customers in the new area.
You could also consider expanding your product line to meet the needs of your client base.
5. You Want to Take Your Business in a New Direction Without Ending Current Operations
If you're ready to head in a different business direction, but don't want to stop what you're currently doing, it's time to explore your expansion options.
You could try offering your current business as a franchise, or hire a dependable manager to take over operations while you build up the new business.
Expanding your business is a major step, and a source of anxiety for many small business owners. You'll have to think about how you'll handle managing a second location, extra staff, or a new product line.
But if you're seeing most of these signs, your business and client base may be telling you it's time to grow.
About the Author
Freelance writer Angie Mansfield covers a range of topics for both small business owners and consumers, including online reputation management.