When you're first starting, the thought of "expanding" is almost a dream.
After all, you've read the business failure statistics - and you're trying your hardest to avoid falling into this dreaded group.
Over time, things come together, and this is where expansion can become a distinct possibility.
It's certainly easier said than done, though - and this is what today's article will focus on. You've made great progress so far but read on to find out how to take your business to the next level safely.
Cash flow is king
Let's start with a cliche, shall we? In the art of growing safely, you simply have to keep an eye on your cash flow. It's all-too-common for businesses to start expanding, making new deals left, right and centre, but not have the financial power to actually pay to get things going.
On paper, they appear successful. When it comes to paying their suppliers in time, there is nothing in the coffers.
This is one of the key risks of expansion and one of the reasons why you need to map it out properly. There are higher staff costs, potentially new insurance requirements, and many other brand new expenses.
Don't just jump into the process and hope it works out. Keep a stricter eye on payment terms and understand that you may need more money in the bank (or a bigger overdraft) to keep up with this expansion.
Manage your own expectations
As the great Dr Phil once said, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." This is especially true when it comes to business.
If you're in the early stages of growth, managing your expectations is essential. This can be tough, especially if you've been working 18-hour days for months.
Part of the reason is that you need to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and your team. The last thing you want is to cause burnout because you're expecting too much, too soon.
Remember, you're still in the early stages. Yes, growth is great - but it takes time.
Put systems in place
If you're serious about growing your business, you need to put systems in place. This is something that many small businesses overlook, but it's so important.
You need systems for everything - from your finances to your HR to your marketing. Having systems in place will make your life a lot easier, and it will also make it easier for you to delegate tasks and bring new team members on board.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
Speaking of delegation, this is something that you need to get good at if you want to grow your business safely.
You simply cannot do everything yourself - especially if you want to focus on the big-picture stuff.
Start delegating tasks to your team and learn to let go of the smaller stuff. It's not worth your time, and it's not worth the stress.
There are only so many hours in the day, and there are only so many things that you can do well.
If you're starting to feel stretched thin, it's time to take a step back and reassess. Maybe it's time to outsource some tasks, or it’s time to bring on new team members.
Whatever you do, just make sure that you're not biting off more than you can chew.