Building a business takes diligence, hard work, a dedicated and talented team … and, an enviable value proposition that proves out over time. You’d have to agree that achieving profitability, gaining market share and winning repeat business generates a sense of accomplishment that is worth cherishing.

But unfortunately, the old adage ‘if you’re not growing, you’re dying’ all too often applies to the next stage on a company’s journey to long term success. Or, to that IPO you and your Board are dreaming of every chance you can. Hopefully, sooner than later your company is faced with the need to expand…literally. Maybe, you’ll need a bigger physical plant. Or, more highly skilled employees. You might need access to more suppliers. It is possible your equipment will need to be refreshed because it can’t keep up with growing demand. But by now, you are keenly aware that as your growth opportunities expand, so do your challenges.

You are clearly up to the task, especially if you are willing to put in the work necessary to successfully expand. Fortunately, there is a wealth of advice available to help you when your business is ready to take that next step.

#1: Make sure your bases are covered.

Before tackling “what’s next,” be sure that “what is” is completely buttoned up.
Is your business properly registered?
Are your proprietary methods or other assets fully protected?
Is your current approach to employees professional and does it exhibit a commitment to DEI?
Do you have the systems and technology in place to track inventory, sales, returns and other key business indicators?
Are your expansion goals properly articulated?
Have you calculated the risks associated with turning much of your attention to expansion?
If you aren’t satisfied with your answers to the above questions, it’s probably time to move these concerns to the top of your To Do list.

#2 Develop a detailed plan for the growth you desire.

Too many companies have tried to hope and wish their way to growth. You’re smarter than that. It takes a well-ideated, carefully documented plan to ensure you can get to where you want to go with as few setbacks and hiccups along the way as possible. Break that plan into manageable sections and assign a capable individual to ensure that the responsibilities assigned to them are carried out.
Don’t hesitate looking for third party assistance at this stage. Putting the people, processes, physical plant, equipment and technology in place and ensuring that they mesh perfectly is no easy task. But expanding without a roadmap will likely lead to an expensive dead end. Many would tell you that the cost of engaging outside consultants whose experience can assist in avoidance of costly mistakes and is a great deal less costly than failing.

#3 Don’t underestimate how important your expanded team will be.

You are too way savvy not to recognize that the new version of your company will flourish only if you’ve maximized your human capital — your PEOPLE! There is no “can’t miss” approach to building out your new organizational chart. You may choose to promote from within only to find that the new responsibilities are simply too much for an employee of yours who in their previous position seemed like a rock star. You may look outside when it comes to filling new management positions only to find that these new hires don’t fit the company culture that you have worked diligently to build. Experience and wisdom suggest that you may want to turn to an outside company for help in identifying the type of hires that will help you achieve your growth goals more smoothly and, likely, more quickly. One thing is certain…your people will be the reason you fly or the reason you’d like to have never even considered expanding.

The fact that you are reading this so attentively confirms the realization that you know that business growth does not come easily. But why should that surprise any of us? You’ve already beaten the odds by building a company worthy of expansion. Stay calm. Stay focused. Demand accountability. And seek professional assistance when you need it. Your company will grow and so will your bottom line.

All my best,
Cathy Light