Every entrepreneur wants to have a business primed for growth. However, in business, as in life, timing is everything. So the question is: how do you know when the time is right?
Here are eight situations when you should consider taking your business to the next level:
1. You topped out. For example, if you have one store and three staff members, there is a limit on how much you can do, how many customers you can serve, and thus, on how much revenue you can make.
If you are at this place in your business, it is time to think about opening a second store, hiring additional staff and/or purchasing more inventory. Obtaining a bank loan may be just what you need to break out of stagnation mode and kick into high gear.
2. It has been your plan all along. A good business starts off a strong business plan, which should be revised, updated and followed. If you have a plan that projected a certain amount of growth and you’ve hit it, then it makes sense to take the next step and evolve it for growth. After all, it got you this far and has been helpful, right?
If the plan says it’s time to grow, it’s time to grow.
3. Your team agrees. While entrepreneurs like to think that they can do it all themselves, unfortunately they can’t. The best small business owners have a good team around them. So check in with yours – do they think it makes sense for you to grow? What does your banker think? Your lawyer? What about your staff? If the consensus is that taking things up a notch makes sense, then it is probably the right move.
4. The numbers dictate it to be so. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in business is, “Let the numbers do the talking.” What is great about this concept is that it takes emotion and subjectivity out of the equation.
What are your numbers saying? Do they support a plan of action for growing your business? The numbers don’t lie. If they say yes, then go for it.
5. The stars have aligned just so. There are magic moments in business when everything lines up just so, like a jigsaw puzzle when the last piece fits in perfectly. It could be that you got some new customers, a lot of publicity, or a big break . . . whatever the reason, when the stars align to give you a boost, give thanks and go for it.
6. Externalities require it. By the same token, sometimes outside forces create opportunities that you did not expect or anticipate and would be foolish to ignore.
Let’s say, for example, you have a business in the health care field, which an additional 30 million people will soon be a part of. Money is being poured into the industry and it would be imprudent not to look to take advantage of this externality.
7. There’s an opening in the market. Maybe your biggest competitor just went out of business. Maybe a new buyer is ready to buy more. When the market demands extra (or new/ different) goods or services, you should be the provider of them.
8. The Warren Buffet Rule applies. The “Oracle of Omaha,” the world’s best investor, Warren Buffet has a rule that fits here: “Buy when everyone else is selling and sell when everyone else is buying.” Translated into the world of entrepreneurship, this means that the time to grow may not always be so obvious to everyone else. You are the only one who knows your business best. The time to strike just may be when it is least expected, when people don’t see it coming, and thus, when you have the chance to capture greater market share quickly, and with less competition.
We all want growth, but if you hold on to your horses and strike when the time is right, you reduce the risk of failure and increase your chances of success.
Have you recently taken the next steps to grow your business? Share your story below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss