As a small business owner, I observed that my business seemed to either be growing or struggling—nothing ever seemed to remain in stasis or a constant state. Saying that isn’t meant to imply that I’m an advocate of reckless or uncontrolled growth; which can get a business in trouble just as quickly as not enough growth. Pursuing smart growth requires a thoughtful, but very logical approach.
I believe, in the same way, farmers use the seasons to judge when to plant or harvest, businesses can watch for the best opportunities to grow. And, although there are successful companies that don’t aggressively pursue growth, most business owners understand how important it is to capitalize on opportunities to grow their businesses.
Here are four times I believe a savvy business owner might pursue smart growth:
1. Your market is growing:
A market on the rise can be a good opportunity to expand. For example, if you’re a plumbing contractor and home construction is growing, it might be time to add another plumber or two to meet the potential increase in demand.
2. You find a complementary product that can boost profits:
Sometimes opportunities for growth come in the form of related products you can add to those you already offer. A florist, for example, might find a new line of candy or chocolates they can offer; or you might hire an ice sculptor for weddings and events where flowers usually play a big part.
3. Your current customers want to buy more:
Increasing capacity to accommodate your customers’ desire to buy more is a challenge most business owners want to face. This could also be the result of an influx of new customers who want to purchase your products or services and you need to expand to meet the extra demand.
4. You need more room:
Sometimes growing out of your current space is a good reason to expand. As your business grows, customers increase, and you need more inventory, expanding your location or moving into a new one encourages growth.
Market factors like these are good examples of situations when pursuing growth makes a lot of sense. Many companies falter because they fail to take advantage of growth opportunities. Nevertheless, recognizing opportunities for growth is an important part of building a successful business, but doesn’t really require a crystal ball.
It does require the business owner to spend time following the industry, paying close attention to what’s happening within his or her market, and being always on the lookout for new products or services that could enhance the business. This thoughtful approach will help you recognize these smart opportunities and build a thriving business.