How do you know when it’s time to expand your business?

You’ve started your dream business. You have taken the time to find a niche and build out a strategy to ensure your business is on the right path. Now, after becoming an entrepreneur, you have successfully grown your business from startup to a well-established company in your community.

You’ve already achieved great things — things others only imagine for themselves, but what’s next? Now it’s time grow and build upon the achievements you’ve already created. But just as you founded your business with thoughtful intentionality, you need to deliver that same methodical approach to your expansion and growth model.

To grow your company, you must be able to grow your profits. This can be difficult to do in an industry that is not expanding or potentially shrinking. Looking at the projections for your area of the market in the next five to ten years can help you determine if it is time to start planning an expansion for your business, or if it makes more sense to wait for better conditions.

However, just because your industry isn’t growing now, that doesn’t mean it won’t in the years to come. Take the time to plan and look for ways you can improve your current offerings to address customer needs. This can create stability and increased profits in the present market, and better position your business for growth in the coming years.

Are you listening to the feedback of customers?

Do you find yourself receiving the same questions about products or services from your customers that are just outside your current capabilities? If so, this might be a sign to listen and act based on customer feedback.

The opinions and desires of customers is one of the most effective tools to leverage when growing or improving your business. Listen to what customers repetitively ask for, evaluate how your business could fill that desire, and then act on meeting (and exceeding) their expectations. When you do so, you will likely find that your profits increase along with customer satisfaction, which can be the catalyst for further expansion.

Is your business bigger than you can handle in your current state?

A strong and consistent customer base is one of the best signs to expand beyond your current operations. If you find that you constantly have back orders or lines out the door, it is time to look for the next step in your business plan. While the workload and responsibility can feel overwhelming, it should also feel encouraging to know that there are likely large pools of other customers, customers you have yet to reach, that would value your service or product offering.

Are company profits steady for an extended period?

Debt can be the downfall of even the best ideas. If you set your sights on expanding too larger, too fast, you may find yourself the victim of a debt pile that feels impossible to climb out of. But don’t let debt scare you — you do not have to have cash-only to run an effective business, By ensuring that your profits are consistent for an extended period of time, and you can finance a loan at the needed rate without the worry of overreaching, then it’s time to make the move to secure financing for your business expansion.

At the center of each of these points rests the question: Is your business ready to grow and are you ready for the increased responsibility that comes with it? When your answer is yes, without hesitation, then it is time for you to take the information that you have gleaned from these questions and develop your growth model to enter the next phase of business.

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