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When & How to Expand Your Small Business

Your small business is thriving, and you’re ready to take the next step: scaling up. But hold on tight because growth can be like walking a tightrope. One misstep and you could lose your balance. Luckily, with the right strategies and a touch of transparency, you can navigate this exciting phase and reach new heights.

Knowing When to Take the Leap

Before you launch yourself into expansion mode, take a deep breath and assess the situation. Look at your finances. Can you afford to hire more employees and offer new products or services? Is your current growth sustainable?

Daize Washbourn, CEO of Bacchus Agency, knew it was time to scale up when clients demanded services in the US. “A sustainable business model, consistent income, and clear market demand are key indicators,” he says. “Your clients’ requests act as a compass, guiding your hiring strategy.”

Image by Freepik | Assess your finances before expanding your business.

Freepik | Assess your finances before expanding your business.

Roza Szafranek, founder of HR Hints, adds that surpassing customer demand or the potential to replicate your model elsewhere are also signs you’re ready to grow. Remember, scaling up shouldn’t be a reaction to overwhelm. Do it strategically before you’re drowning in demand, or worse, before the competitors steal your market share.

Pro tip: Implement a monitoring tool to track company growth. Assess your hiring needs based on quarterly data.

Delegation: The Art of Letting Go

As you expand, you’ll face challenges in outlining responsibilities for both new hires and existing staff. Let’s face it, small businesses often wear many hats. Founders are often jacks of all trades, making delegation a daunting task.

Leonie Stewart, Bacchus Agency’s global HR manager, emphasizes the importance of letting go. “Founders must relinquish control,” she says. Remember, your current employees might be juggling multiple roles too. Scaling up requires clarity for everyone.

“Founders often multitask across legal, finance, HR, and marketing,” Stewart explains. “Scaling up means empowering a new team of skilled professionals.”

Image by Freepik | Don't forget your existing team when adding new talent

Freepik | Leadership is essential for uniting everyone under a shared vision.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition for Everyone

Adding new talent is exciting, but don’t forget about your existing team! Even the most enthusiastic employees might resist change. During the transition, leadership plays a crucial role in helping everyone buy into the bigger vision.

Jennifer L’Estrange, founder of Red Clover, a human-resource consulting firm, advises: “Communicate company values and how they translate into behaviors. Explain how these behaviors might evolve as the company grows. This helps employees understand and align with the future.”Remember the good practices that made your business successful. They’ll be your anchor during this period of change.

“Maintaining good habits is key,” says Szafranek. “Weekly updates and regular reports are crucial for long-term success. Don’t underestimate the power of small routines!”

Minimizing Risk: Don’t Fly Blind

Freepik | Scaling your small business is an adventurous journey—embrace it with meticulous planning.

Running a business involves risks, and small businesses often lack the resources of larger corporations. So, play it safe.

L’Estrange suggests seeking help from external experts, mentors, or peer advisor groups. “We’ve seen companies scale up without proper financial planning, leading to debt they can’t manage,” she says. “Get an objective analysis of your finances before taking the leap.”

Experts also recommend implementing changes gradually, creating a well-researched plan, and setting a clear timetable for each stage. Bacchus Agency, for example, uses an 18-month plan with dedicated research, hiring, and implementation phases. This ensures flexibility and a solid foundation for growth.

“Thorough research is crucial,” says Stewart. “Analyze talent costs and market value before entering new markets. Issues will arise, but research minimizes the most common ones.”

Remember, scaling up your small business is an adventure. Embrace the challenges and prioritize transparency, and with careful planning, you’ll reach new heights while keeping your balance. So, take a deep breath, step onto the tightrope, and watch your business soar!

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