The ability to take on more jobs and bigger contracts typically helps to catapult small businesses forward and encourages future growth. This prospect of upward fiscal movement is often enough to entice even the most frugal of business owners to move toward expansion.
Whether you’re looking to grow in preparation for the holidays or simply want to bring in higher profits, getting your business ready to take on the contracts that grow business requires careful planning. From the equipment needs to space requirements to new staff members, there’s more to growth than bringing in more customers. Before you begin advertising your company’s new capabilities, check to make sure the proper steps have been taken to ensure success.
Prepping Your Employees
Expanding your business usually requires you to grow your team. There are a few things you can do to make sure this stage of the growth plan goes well. Before you even hold the first job interviews, inform/discuss your plans with your current employees. Bringing in new people out of the blue can alarm your team and leave them unsure of their place in the company, especially in a small business. Being transparent keeps rumors from spreading. The last thing you want when you are planning an expansion is for your employees to lose faith.
Once your team is onboard with, or at least informed of your hiring goals, decide exactly what positions you need filled. It’s important to consider positions outside of production. Larger contracts often mean more paperwork and require top-notch organizational skills. It may be time to bring in a shop manager, an office assistant, and even an accountant.
That being said, sometimes it is possible to expand without adding employees. To save money on the personnel side, look into automating some processes and outsourcing tasks, like bookkeeping and shipping.
Ramping up production will no doubt put a strain on equipment. You’ll want to check that all your equipment is in working order and can withstand more orders. It may even be a good time to invest in new equipment. If you have already been in business for a few years and have a good credit history, you’ll likely qualify for flexible equipment financing plans that cater to expansion. When discussing financing more equipment, ask about deferred payments and step programs. Both of these plans allow you to generate some profit before sinking all your money into equipment.
Deferred payment programs, also called buy now, pay later programs, push back your first payments. With 100% financing, it is possible to profit from equipment before you pay a penny for it. Step payment programs start with very low monthly payments and let you increase the amount as your business grows. This cuts down on the start-up costs of expansion without drastically lengthening your lease.
If your business is still in the first year or two of business and is already itching to expand, some equipment financing companies offer great programs for start-ups. Without a long credit history it may be a little harder to find the right financing, but it's far from impossible. Look for companies with a history of working with start-ups. Once you find your perfect financing partner and plan, you’ll be on the road to expansion in no time at all.
Target the Right Crowd
Once you’re capable of fulfilling larger orders, market your new abilities. Let potential customers know what you can do. If you don’t let people know your growing, what’s the point? You should plan to adjust your marketing strategy to target bigger clients. While your old marketing worked for bringing in smaller clients, something different may be needed to bring in the type of contracts your making room for. Do some research on your new audience; find out what services they need and the best ways to reach them. That will get you started on the journey to successful expansion.
With a lot of planning and a little luck, you’ll be on your way to new to a bigger and brighter future. Just make sure you don’t let over-worked employees and finicky machines get in your way!