Ten signs you’re ready to take your business to the next level

You’ve got an established customer base and steady demand. Your staffing is stable and you’re making some profits. But how do you know the time is right to grow your business? Whether you’re actively interested in expanding your business, or just exploring your next steps, here are ten signs that point towards big things in your business future.

1. Your customers can’t get enough of you

When does having too many customers become a problem? If you’ve got queues around the block for your quesadillas or a waiting list for your web design services, that could be bad for business.

Because if you can’t meet your customers’ needs, they’ll go elsewhere. And all that time and energy (and cash) you’ve spent to win their custom in the first place? Wasted.

If you’ve got more custom than you can currently handle, it makes sense to expand your business and maximise on that interest. From investing in a second Mexican street food truck to taking on another few designers at your digital marketing agency, strong demand is a key sign your business is ready to grow.

Once you’re sure the boom in business isn’t a fluke and that growth is sustainable, you should start exploring your options. Listen to what your customers are saying to make sure you expand in the right direction.

Do they want more of the same or something new? Do they love your product but hate your processes? Expanding can be a good time for more market research.

2. You’re surrounded by a strong team

People are so important in business. Without a supportive, trusted and talented team of staff, you’ll find it hard to run a successful business, let alone expand it. But if you’ve got your dream team in place, it could be time to take on your next challenge together.

Expanding can be stressful so you need to make sure your senior team are up for the challenge. If your colleagues are on-board with your vision for the next stage of your business journey, that’s a great start – because you’ll need to rely on them for more than ever before.

3. You’ve got the money

In the early days of your business, getting money in the bank was a high priority. But as your business grows, think of money as an employee. It’s only benefiting your business when it’s working for you.

Once you’ve built up a safety buffer to see you through any tough times, you’ll have extra money to invest in the future of the business.

This could mean making repairs and replacing old equipment to keep you chugging along at your current rate. Or it could buy new software and systems, secure bigger premises, hire staff and up your marketing spend to help you grow, grow, grow…

Make no mistake, to expand successfully, you’re going to need money. Read our article on business finance options to help grow your business.

In the early days of your business, getting money in the bank was a high priority. But as your business grows, think of money as an employee. It’s only benefiting your business when it’s working for you.

4. You know what you’re doing...

You’ve got this far, so you must be doing something right… right? If your current business success is based on a strong strategy and firm financial decision-making, this bodes well for your future growth.

But have you got the systems and capacity in place to grow? If you’ve not got room to store new products, the time or space to induct new staff, or the systems that will make sense to new starters, this might not be the right time yet.

5. But you can’t do it all yourself

The likelihood is that you started a business based on your personal passions and skill. And whilst it is tempting to try to keep control, you might need to bring in additional talent to drive things forward.

Sure, you're great at the original service you offer – like cooking up amazing quesadillas - but can you balance the books, set the strategy, develop the staff? Bringing in the right people can expand your business and set you up for future success.

If you’re standing still, you’re actually falling behind. Stagnant systems, failure to innovate, settling for the same old processes… all of these can cause your business to lose its edge.

6. You’re standing still

You can be sure that your competitors are innovating all the time. So if you’re standing still, you’re actually falling behind. Stagnant systems, failure to innovate, settling for the same old processes… all of these can cause your business to lose its edge.

Planning to grow your business can drag you out of your comfort zone and put you back into strategy mode.

Your business and marketing plans should be living documents that you revisit regularly. But if you get too comfy, they can start gathering dust. It could be time to dig them out and start thinking about how to drive things forward, make things better and crush that competition.

7. All your eggs are in one basket

If you’re too reliant on one source of income, expanding your business can be a savvy strategy. Taking on additional clients can spread the risk, making you better positioned to weather the storm if you lose an anchor client. Similarly, diversifying your product range can help protect you from changing trends or consumer needs.

8. You’re tripping over each other

If your office is packed tighter than a tin of sardines, or your bistro is bursting at the seams, that could be a sign you need to expand. Overcrowding can mean lost custom and unhappy staff. Plus they show that you’ve already grown… so why stop now?

Once you’re sure your cramped conditions aren’t as a result of a seasonal spike or passing fad, it’s time to think about new digs or another location. Future-proof your next move by getting somewhere with room for further expansion but that isn’t going to overstretch your budget for space you don’t need.

9. You’d be better off doing it yourself

Ever looked at the service you’re getting from suppliers and thought ‘I could do that better myself’? If so, vertical integration might be one way to expand your business. Vertical integration is when you combine different elements of the production or supply chain into one business.

By cutting out the middleman and doing it yourself, you can grow your business, gain more control and achieve operational efficiencies. Read our article on five ways to grow your business, which includes more information on acquiring another business.

10. You’ve got a great opportunity

Sometimes, opportunity knocks and you need answer. Maybe a local competitor has gone out of business and you can snap up their staff and stuff? Perhaps that ideal location you’ve always dreamed of has come up to rent?

It might not be the perfect time. But so long as you’ve got a firm financial plan and the opportunity fits with your overall strategy, it might be worth a calculated risk. As with all expansion plans, make sure you base your decisions on thorough research and are confident that your business sector has growth potential.

So what do you think? Are you ready for the next step in your business journey? Take a look at our article on KPIs and data that indicate you're ready to grow your business.

If you need finance to fuel your business growth, read more about Transmit Growth Loans.