Even though growth is more of a process than it is a project, once you launch your company, it will be quite hard to think about scalability, seeing as how you will be too preoccupied with sheer survival. Still, at one point in the existence of your business, you are going to have to make some choices that will inevitably lead to growth.
By Emma Worden
For instance, you will have to choose to hire more people, you will feel the need to appoint more team leaders, or you will feel obliged to move to a bigger office. Nevertheless, recognizing the right time to start with this expansion is not an easy thing to do, especially for a first-time entrepreneur. With this in mind, here are several reliable indicators that will help you recognize the right opportunity for your growth.
1. A rising need for your product
The first, and perhaps the most reliable indicator of a need for growth, is an increased workload. In the past, your ability to produce or acquire a certain product exceeded the demand of the market, but now, it’s the other way around. In other words, the demand for your products or services is so great that you won’t be able to meet them unless you expand.
There is a catch, however. You see, sometimes, the sudden increase might indeed be just a fluke, in which way, your overinvesting to expand will turn out to be a bad business move. In order to avoid it causing too much of a damage, you may want to look for alternatives, like outsourcing, until you’re 100 percent sure.
2. Problems with meeting your schedule
Your production issues aren’t the only responsibilities you are failing to meet. In fact, as of late, you’ve been finding it harder and harder to meet your schedule. In the past, you had only several major clients so it was easy to meet with all of them face-to-face. Now, however, you can’t seem to find time for such a thing. Aside from this, before this increased workload, you were in a position to tend to all of the issues within your company on your own, but now it’s getting harder and harder.
In this situation, you need an assistant (if you don’t already have one), as well as team leaders who can tend to day-to-day tasks and take some of the burden off your shoulders. In a situation where you still don’t believe any of these two methods to be cost-effective, you should at least consider hiring a virtual assistant to take on some of your administrative tasks.
3. A positive cash flow
Even though the rising need for your product may seem like a definitive indicator, you would be surprised at how often this isn’t the case. Imagine a situation where you lower your costs in order to run your competitors out of business. In a lot of scenarios, this has a negative income, but you believe it will be worth in the long run. Nonetheless, this is a dangerous game, one that you can’t afford to play for long. On the other hand, if your business is working on its full potential and you’re currently boasting a positive cash flow, then you definitely need to expand in order to keep up the good work.
4. Your workplace is getting overcrowded
In the introduction, we mentioned that the increase in your operations could lead to a greater need for employees, as well as the need for a somewhat bigger workplace. The problem with recognizing the symptom is the fact that it’s not something you are likely to experience overnight. In other words, you won’t just wake up one day and feel the need to double your staff. It is far more likely that you’ll start hiring several people at a time so that in a year from now, you will face the situation in which your entire workforce can’t fit into your current office.
This is a significant problem that can be tricky to solve. On one way, your business is doing fine and you have a positive cash flow (which we already discussed in the previous section). Yet, you don’t have enough money to pull off an effective move (the one that requires a minimal amount of downtime). In that case, it may be cost-effective to apply for one of those low rate personal loans in order to finance this relocation of your operations.
5. You have a staff that you can rely on
The most important indicator of being on the right way, nevertheless, is when you are completely satisfied with your staff. In other words, you have a team that performs almost completely autonomously, which means that even bringing other people in, or changing business practices and expanding can’t disrupt the unity of your company. For this reason, it’s definitely time for you to invest a bit of your effort and resources into expansion.
At the end of the day, deciding to grow your small business may seem like a logical next step, but it is far from risk-free. Therefore, you must be 100 percent sure that you know how to recognize the right growing opportunity. With this in mind, any of the above-listed five tips may be of an immense help.
Emma Worden is a startup funding consultant from Sydney. She enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of entrepreneurship, usually finance and marketing. If you want to read more of her work, you can find it at https://bizzmarkblog.com/