We are in the New Year, and there’s no better time than now to start planning the next phase of your business expansion. An expansion is a long-term commitment, but having a 12-step plan in place can give you a clear framework for the path ahead.
This is the first in a series of 12 steps to grow and expand your business. We will publish the remaining 11 installments over the coming months.
New Year’s Resolutions
The very first step on your business expansion journey can be the most daunting one: developing your vision with goals and a written plan to achieve those goals in the months ahead. Even though goal setting and planning takes time and effort, avoid the temptation to procrastinate. Instead, take some time to think about what prompts your desire to expand, how you can ensure success during the expansion process, and what your end goal needs to be.
Visualize where you want to be at year’s end, and think about how creating an expansion plan for the year ahead can help you to get there. Let’s not waste any time getting started!
Learn From Past Mistakes
You can’t plan for growth without knowing what your starting point looks like. Think about the last year of business and identify areas where you could have done better. Every expansion plan should address a problem area. For instance, are sales too low or stagnant? Opening a new location, hiring more staff, or investing in a marketing campaign might result in the growth you’re seeking. You need to accurately assess your business’ strengths and weaknesses and build from there.
Some potential areas for improvement could include:
- Customer retention: It costs less to keep a customer than to acquire a new one; and more locations can help increase customer loyalty by making it more convenient for your customers to always choose your business.
- Sales revenue: Adding locations can certainly increase your revenue, but it’s not the only way to increase sales. Consider training your employees to be more sales-oriented, remodeling for a customer-friendly space, and investing in paid advertising to ramp up your sales.
- Gross margin: The higher your margins, the more profit you’re making for the same amount in sales. When you sell higher volume across multiple locations, your efficiency increases, and so does your margin.
- Cost of operation: When you’re opening a new location, you have the opportunity to do everything right the first time. This includes seeking out the best deals on vendors, rent, and other recurring overhead costs, to lower the overall cost of operation.
These are some of the most common areas where businesses make mistakes and need to improve, but it’s not an exhaustive list by any means. Look at your operations with a critical eye; even if things are currently “good”, there’s always room for improvement.
Look at Your Fears and Concerns
It’s normal to be apprehensive about a massive undertaking like a business expansion plan. Instead of dismissing the process because it seems hard, ask yourself honestly what you’re afraid of, and consider how to mitigate that fear.
For instance, it’s expected that business growth is going to cost money, so you may be wondering how you’re going to fund the expansion. Applying for business funding, reevaluating your budget, and making economic choices going forward can all be valid solutions, and chances are that you’ll use all three of them at some point before this process is over.
If your fear is that you’ll fall off task and fail to meet deadlines, then stop and consider why you might fail. Is it because of a lack of time? Consider delegating responsibilities to other team members when the time comes. Are you worried that your goals will end up being unrealistic? Break them down into sub-tasks so you can tackle them a little bit at a time.
No matter what you fear when it comes to the expansion plan, there’s a solution out there. It just takes some soul-searching to identify your concerns and figure out how to address them.
Visualize Where You Want to Be in 12 Months
Don’t underestimate the power of your own imagination. Once you know what you want to accomplish with your growth plan, sit down and actually take the time to see it. Take ten minutes out of your day to put yourself in a quiet place and visualize where this expansion plan is going to take your business.
Do you want to double your sales by this time next year? Are you hoping to have a grand opening under your belt next January? Imagine what the new store will look like, and how it will feel to be packed with customers from opening until closing.
Visualization is a very real strategy that works for self-starters of all types, from entrepreneurs to entertainers and beyond. You focus on seeing the end goal, and you have instant motivation to find the pathway you need to take to reach that goal. When you see your New Year’s resolution come to fruition, you gain the very most important tool you could use to make it a reality: your motivation.
Plan the Next Steps for Growth
You’ve visualized where you need to be next year. You know that deciding that you need to add a location or figure out a new advertising roadmap isn’t enough. Now it’s time to conceive how you’re going to get it done in the New Year.
Next, take the time to visualize an action plan, laying out what needs to be done. If your solution to low sales velocity is opening a new location downtown where the potential for sales traffic is high, then your action plan might include items such as scouting out new locations or doing market research to find the right neighborhood.
This might seem like a lot of front-loaded work, but having a plan from day one helps ensure that you stay on task and moving toward your projected end goal. You can work on accomplishing each task as you get to that stage in the expansion process. But having the work laid out ahead of time helps you keep a crystal-clear vision of what needs to happen in the months ahead.
And remember, all of your hard work and planning will be worth the effort!
From Vision to Reality
Congratulations! You’ve gotten through the first step to business expansion: identifying problems and choosing an expansion plan that can solve those problems. At this stage, you may be wondering how you’re going to finance the coming changes and improvements.
If you need working capital to implement your expansion plan, call Mulligan Funding at 855-326-3564 to discuss your financing options today!