Starting a business is hard work, as it takes blood, sweat, and tears to turn a small startup into a successful business. Once you have begun to turn a profit, establish clients, and establish your business as a competitor, your business might be outgrowing the startup phase.
However, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your business is ready to go to the next level. Expanding a business can be challenging as well as nerve wracking, for once again, you are venturing into foreign territory, just as you did when beginning your business.
But, if your business is growing in size and revenue, it might be time to expand. Here are 6 signs your business might be ready:
If your business has a product, service, or a combination of the two, take a moment to check the growth of your business. Has your revenue and client list steadily increased? Are you having to turn down clients and sales? If this sounds familiar, it is a key indicator your business might be outgrowing its current level. Being in a position where your business is growing more than the resources you have to offer is a perfect opportunity to begin looking into expanding your business.
- Business Plan
Most startups are still looking for investors and lenders to back their company, as finding funding is one of the most difficult parts of starting a business. If your business has found quality investors and is financially comfortable, take the time to create a detailed business plan for the next phase of your business.
Most businesses have a general business plan, which is fine during the startup phase. Once you have moved past the first phase, which is most often funding, it is time to figure out what the next business step should be. What does the next level look like?
Is it diversifying your income? If you are a tech company, that could be with cisco incentives and promotions. Or, is it by moving from an e-commerce site to a store front? Once you have a plan, you can begin putting it into action.
- Your Team
Most startups begin as a solo venture or with a small team, as most cannot afford to hire on a full staff. However, if your business is at the point where you need employees in order to function correctly, you are definitely in a position to expand.
As companies grow, there is more of a need for employees, for there is only so much one or two people can continue to accomplish. Hiring employees allows you to focus your time and energy on running and growing the business. While your employees handle the day-to-day projects, you can devote yourself to the well-being of the company.
- The Market
When your company was just beginning, you had a vague handle on your business’s market and target audience. But if you are now at the point where you have tailored your marketing strategy expertly to your target audience, and you know exactly how to reach them effectively, your business is expanding.
Most businesses being to realize they are outgrowing the startup phase when their marketing efforts are paying off both figuratively and literally. Once you have found your audience, you can spend your marketing budget far more efficiently, gaining back far more than you spent.
A great indicator your business is outgrowing its current stage is when lenders and investors seek you out instead of the other way around. In the beginning stages, you had to sell yourself and your business to investors, hoping they would take a chance on your company. Once investors begin to recognize your success and take the time to approach you, your business is definitely moving to a new level.
All businesses have risks, but the more you grow, the less risks you should have. When you began your startup, the risks were extremely high, as your business had no reputation, no income, and no funding. As your business expands, the less risks you have, for you have a respectable, sustainable business. Once the risks begin to decrease, the more ready you are to expand.
If these six signs sound familiar, your business might be ready to move out of the startup phase and onto the next stage.