Last week, I wrote about our expansion to 28 employees. Wow! While I’m excited about our growth, I want to our experience to help other companies. After all, our brand promise is to provide solutions and processes that promote growth and meet your unique business objectives.
All growth means increasing your capacity to serve more clients, but before deciding to grow, you need to determine how you want to make that happen:
- Is our company growth geographic, meaning we open additional locations?
- Does our growth mean offering new services or products?
- Does it mean expanding into a new market, new industry or type of customer? This could be anything – for example, expanding your pool maintenance company from only residential to commercial clients, or opening for longer hours if you are a restaurant.
When you make a decision to grow, I’d recommend creating a strategic plan. Ours started with a management team meeting in Atlanta. We hired a facilitator to help us come up with our goals and put them within a timeframe.
Once you have a picture of the growth you seek, it’s time to look internally. Ask yourself:
- Do we have the infrastructure to support the growth? In other words, can you consistently deliver quality to your clients with your current infrastructure. This encompasses everything from the number of employees you have to how you run your accounting. To develop a stronger and more consistent infrastructure, Fourlane has developed very clear processes and we document them in our Wiki, which is accessible to all employees. This enables us to quickly train new employees and ensures we remain consistent in our service delivery.
- What do we need to STOP doing in order to do the new things we want to do? Looking at the profitability of products or services can easily help you answer this question.
- Have we thoroughly evaluated the finances around expansion? What are your current revenue, projected revenue, gross margins and operating expenses? How much will inventory cost? Have you analyzed your fixed assets, such as vehicles and equipment? Estimate accounts receivable and payable, as well as the impact debt will have on your bottom line. In order to do this analysis, you must have an accurate picture of your current financial strength. The QuickBooks App, Qvinci Reporting, can help with this, and pricing starts at only $4.95 per month. The input of a financial expert, such as a CFO, can also be a powerful asset. Fourlane offers outsourced CFO Services, designed with your long-term financial goals in mind.
- How will we fund our growth? While growth can lead to many great things, it also costs money. In the time between when you expand and when you begin seeing a return on investment, how are you going to get by? Use cash on hand, get a loan from the bank or find private investors.
While answering these questions may take some time, they’ll help you create the roadmap to growth for your company.
What are your growth plans? Let us know if we can help!