Expanding a Business

Business expansion can mean several things. It might mean increasing the number of employees, opening a second location, enlarging the size of your plant, adding to the product line of your business, moving from a home office to a storefront, selling franchises, exporting goods into the global marketplace, or grow in any number of ways.

Regardless of the type, growth and expansion require careful planning. For an expanding small business to be successful, it requires a great deal of attention, precaution and knowledge as well as adequate financing.

  1. Do your research before making any major decisions.
    Put simply, being more informed will allow you to make better decisions. If you are looking to offer new products or services, consider first what the impact would be given current market conditions as well as your available resources. If you are planning on changing your location, then you should consider whether to buy or lease your property.
  2. Try to stay one-step ahead of your growth.
    To save on time, money, and productivity, you should try to be prepared for any future changes your small business is likely to experience. Map out a three to five year plan that plots your future growth strategy and needs. For example, if you are renovating your location, then build into your plans more space than what you currently need.
  3. Watch your cash flow.
    It is common among small businesses to struggle with tight cash flow. A rapid or unplanned expansion will put even more stress on cash flow. As growth happens, it is easy to lose sight of your expenditures. Since a lot of money is being directed outside of the business for new equipment, new supplies, or higher payroll expenses, a cash shortfall is usually inevitable.
  4. Secure financing.
    Make sure that you have several financing options in place. The Joint Development Authority offers bond financing for companies seeking $5mm or larger. In addition, the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission offers a revolving loan fund program and a SBA 504 loan program. Besides traditional lending programs, there are a variety of non-profit organizations that can assist with financing. A list of these programs can be found at www.businessloanfunds.com/Georgia/whitfield.
  5. Consult a professional.
    It is advantageous to get professional help–check with your banker, realtor, developer, lawyer, marketing expert, and other consultants as needed for the specific situation.

In short, as your small business begins to expand, the key to success lies in careful planning and preparation.

The Joint Development Authority can provide market research to assist in your decision as well as connect you with the proper professional. Call 706-278-7373 or email nix@daltonchamber.org to set up an appointment.