A business growth health check: What to check before expanding 

Getting your house in order is vital before going after game-changing growth.

Getting your house in order is vital before going after game-changing growth.

Most business owners dream of expansion and are working towards developing their market big enough to merit business growth.

Whether it’s growing your business by taking on more clients, offering your services to more people or opening up a second or third shop, expansion is a sure sign of success – why wouldn’t you want your livelihood to grow? 

However, it can’t be something you just decide overnight. Business expansion takes a lot of forethought and consideration – there are various factors that need to be added to the equation before you go ahead and expand your reach, including financial, logistical and emotional aspects. Work carefully through the following before taking those next, all important, steps:

Research your prospects

Make sure that you do your research in advance so that you know that there’s a market waiting for your business expansion. If the opportunities aren’t there for you to expand, there’s little point investing your time, effort and finances into something that may not work. Do your sums carefully too – if the rising overheads overtake the potential profit, you could land yourself in deep water. 

Check your finances 

If your personal and business finances won’t allow expansion comfortably, don’t do it. You can find out what your credit score is with the CreditExpert credit score website, so check that everything is in order with your personal finances before you consider investing more in your business. 

Research how much it will cost to expand. Will you need the help of an investor, or a bank loan? If you’re looking to the bank to help fund your business growth you’ll need a healthy credit history. Or can you afford to fund the growth yourself? 

Work out how much extra will you be spending each month on overheads (particularly important if you’re expanding over another site, where the cost of new premises will obviously bump up your monthly expenditure). Perhaps you’re a freelancer hoping to expand by hiring a staff member to help you keep on top of the work – have you accounted for their wage? There’s plenty to consider before you make your decision and, while expanding your business is an exciting prospect, it’s important to look at all the potential pitfalls before taking the plunge.

Put a financial plan in place 

Once you’ve looked at your finances, you need to make sure that there’s a solid financial plan in place for funding your business growth. Whether it’s for your eyes only or you’re planning to present it to a bank or financial provider with the aim of gaining some financial support, a clear, concise plan can help you and other relevant parties to understand your business finance requirements more clearly. 

Expand at your own pace 

It’s important not to get carried away with your plans for business growth. Wait until you are completely ready for the best chance of a successful expansion. Make sure that you continue to visualise your goals and don’t get side-tracked by worrying about other people’s expectations, or what your competitors are doing.

The key to a good business is ensuring that what you deliver is of the best quality. Don’t allow your standards to lower by growing too fast. Make sure that you are walking to the best of your ability before you try to run.

Remember that customers come first 

Don’t forget the customers you already have when you’re planning to expand – after all, a bird in the hand is worth 10 in the bush. Your customers and clients are what are making your business a success at the stage it is now, so keep them in mind and check that you can still deliver your products or services, to your usual standard, during your expansion. 
If you feel that the return on your investment will be worth the time, money and energy that you will be devoting to expanding your business, start researching to make it a reality. 

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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