Happy New Year! ‘Tis the season to be wondering… if the year ahead is a good one for expanding operations. But don’t rush onto the growth train quite yet: make sure to triple-check whether it’s opportunity knocking on your door, or just a ding dong ditcher.
Here are 2 major signs it’s time to grow your business:
1. You’ve exceeded your own expectations
- You’ve exceeded your goals — again and again. Your performance is literally off the charts (because you didn’t plan on going past that line on your spreadsheet). The numbers are better than your humble best estimate all those months ago.
- You’re turning down too many opportunities. There is a true clamor for your product or service and you can’t embrace the demand proportionately. The amount of clients walking away because you can’t accommodate them is starting to feel unhealthy. You might actually start losing clients because you don’t project the trustworthy ability to care for a growing need.
- The increase in demand looks sustainable. Your sales are not rising only because it’s summer, or Christmas, or Black Friday, for that matter. Your strong performance can’t just be attributed to the fact that a main competitor was on hiatus. You’re doing well, period. Or maybe, a window of opportunity has opened: you now have a chance to market successfully to a bigger pool of fish.
2. There’s minimal risk
- Cash flow is consistently strong and positive. This doesn’t just mean the numbers in your profit column; you’ve got to be liquid. It means you simply have the moolah to cover the costs of expansion, and save yourself from unexpected setbacks, before your company starts profiting from having grown.
- You have a strong core team. You’re ready to grow, and your team is on board to grow as well! You’re all ready to learn new things, take on new responsibilities, and perform dynamic tasks on the daily.
- You have strategized. You’ve done the research. You know what expanding is going to do for the shape of your company. You’ve covered your legal and financial bases. Most importantly, you’ve examined every single process you can possibly study — together with your team, you’ve planned out how these processes will scale.
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Bonus: Signs you’re not ready to scale
Scaling is not always the best move. Upping operations may result in diminishing returns. You may be able to afford enlarging your offices and services now, but will you be able to survive the change in the long run?
Here are signs that your current business model is not scalable:
- It’s a big risk, based more on gut feelings than on numbers. It’s the twenty-first century, and we’ve gotten smart. Any good CEO knows what gut feelings are like. The ones who make it know how to back their instincts with data.
- The increase in demand may be temporary. Maybe your sales are surging for a short-term reason. Perhaps a few of your competitors have been facing minor setbacks just for the past year. Such events will boost your income, but they’re more like a fun night out — unless you up your game in a major way, you can’t be in this party forever.
- You’re not (yet) an expert in delegation or automation. Too much micromanagement is still happening. More work for the company would be forcing things: a burden on you or your employees. You could be stretched too thin, and that may not be worth the extra income.
- You’re not ready for the competition up there. At your current size, you may be running a real game. That may be what’s pushing you to expand. However, are you going to be able to quickly establish yourself as a new player in the big(ger) leagues, or are you going to be the runt of the litter in the next level?
Maybe you’re at home where you are, and that’s a good thing. However, there are times when the only way to move is forward. There are times when the only way to go is big.
It sounds complicated because it sort of is — there’s a lot of planning involved. In a way, scaling is a company’s mini-rebirth. However, if you’re truly ready, you’ll be doing all the dirty work, not on a whim, but out of necessity. The best part is, it’ll be worth it.