You have created a niche for your business in the market and everything seems to be going well. And like every entrepreneur who aspires to take his business to places, you too might be considering scaling up your business and expanding it to new territories. Of course, expanding your business sounds as thrilling as a lucrative prospect. You would be drawing in more customers, there would be an increased generation of revenue and you also might use this opportunity to diversify products and services. The increased revenue could be then purposed for advertising and raising brand awareness which would possibly attract even more customers.
If you’re presented with a really good opportunity you should possibly explore the idea of expansion. Following are some signs that indicate that it is the right time:
- Increasing Competition:
Increasing competition can threaten the existence of a business. A stagnant business, in the long run, is going to find it difficult to adapt to a highly competitive market. So if you see the competition growing, it is the first sign that your business needs to grow to a new region. It can provide an opportunity to target new markets and widen the customer base.
- Demand has escalated:
A very good indicator that your business is ready to expand is that your leads are converting to sales and demand is much more than had you predicted. It would also mean you will need to fulfill those orders efficiently and on time and that can be quite overwhelming. In such a case you should consider expanding your business to locations that would allow you to fulfill orders with more ease and also gain higher customer contentment. Make sure to conduct market research beforehand and ensure that the risen demand is not just seasonal and will sustain eventually.
- You have a loyal customer base:
Are your customers seeking out your products and services from far and wide, despite having plenty of other options? If yes, then in all probability your business is ready to expand. Once you’ve gained the trust of your customers, it can help you boost your growth through word of mouth and will help bring in more customers. Tip: Determine the new location for your business operations by assessing factors as utility costs, accessibility, competition and future growth probabilities.
- You are meeting your goals:
Is your business continuously meeting the targets that you had fixed? If the answer is affirmative, it is time to set new targets. For an e-commerce business target could mean getting steady sales over a period of time. Evaluating goals by using data can prove helpful in determining the further course of action.
- You have been making a steady profit:
Once your business gains momentum and starts bringing in profit consistently, it is an indication that your business model is operating right, and testing it out in other regions can be a good idea. Scaling business would require investment and involves risks as well but it is much easier to expand when you have financial stability. Review your financial infrastructure and decide if it is ready to support the cost of expansion.
- You have a robust team:
Expansion to new regions is going to put a lot of pressure on your team. Are they ready yet? It is going to need a proficient workforce to take on the challenges that come along with business expansion. Once you are certain that you have got a team that is on the same page as you are, to take the business to the next level, you can start considering expansion to new regions.
- You have a great opportunity:
Sometimes it is all about grabbing the right opportunities. Such an opportunity, for instance, for an e-commerce business can be acquiring a fulfillment center or a warehousing space at a strategic location, which would make deliveries much easier and faster. It is, however, imperative to check the feasibility of such an expansion and then seize the opportunity.
- The industry is evolving:
The adage “Go with the flow” fits best for your business when the industry you are associated with is evolving or growing. It is the best time to leverage new trends in the industry, set new milestones for your business, and seek business growth. It would also allow you to explore the untapped potential of the market and offer new products or services to your customers.
Having said that, every business is unique and expansion into a new location comes with its own set of challenges. It would require spending higher costs on inventory, labor wages, rents and taxes. There is more to business expansion than it seems. There must be a robust strategy to grow your business and sustain it as well. You must be prudent and weigh in on all the opportunities and risks involved before taking the big step.
When expanding geographically, a professional 3PL partner can make calculated site recommendations and integrate supply chain operations to save various overhead costs that come with expansion and enhance customer experience.