It’s one of the very basic facts of running a business that you should always have some sort of plan or strategy in place in order to protect your business when things go wrong. But, do you have a plan in place for your business’ growth and success? Many large companies start off as small businesses, such as a local grocery store growing to be a nationally recognized supermarket chain. If you are the owner of a small business and you’re dreaming of one day becoming the CEO of a massive company, it will take time and hard work but it’s definitely possible – here’s what you need to do to prepare for your business growth and expandsion. Know What Growth Means to You In order to get your business to where you want it to be in the future, it’s vital that you have a clear picture and plan in front of you. In order to be able to successfully prepare for something you will need to know exactly what that is and how to recognize it. When it comes to business growth, it’s a lot more than simply hitting a set of numbers – it includes significant changes to the way your company is run and managed in terms of operations, employees, production and facilities. You should also think about what growth means to you personally. Are you prepared for the inevitable changes in your life when your company expands and profits increase? How much hard work and dedication are you willing to put in to achieve what you want? Be Friendly With Funding Sources For a business to grow and expand, the key factor that is needed is money. The faster your business grows, the more cash you are likely to need in order to maintain the growth and keep your company stable. Develop and maintain strong relationships with your funding sources, as you’re definitely going to need them in the future as your plans for growth materialize. It’s vital to have an effective financial plan – have a clear projection of how much you expect to make, and never take a good cash flow for granted, as in today’s economy it’s harder than ever to predict credit availability. Prepare for the Spotlight Owners of large companies are almost always in the spotlight. Even if you’re not well known to the general public, you will definitely be known to your customers and your employees, and this will only grow as your business expands. Prepare to come under scrutiny if anything goes wrong with the business. Put the Right People in the Right Place Successful businesses take all the necessary steps to ensure that they have the right people doing the right jobs. Hire staff based on where you want to be, and ensure that each member of staff is positioned accordingly to their best skills. Take a systematic approach to hiring, and carry out whole person assessments and implement trial periods in order to ensure that you’re hiring the right people for the job. Implementing these strategies when hiring will help to keep your employee turnover low and help to reduce mis-hires. Look After Your Employees Your employees are the backbone of your company, they are the people who will make you successful. Even if currently your business is small with only a small handful of employees, it’s of vital importance that you take care of them and make sure that every step is taken to ensure their job satisfaction and good work morale. Take note of their work and ensure that they are noticed and rewarded accordingly. Employees who do not feel appreciated are unlikely to stay in the position for a long time, so ensure that you take the time to appreciate the work your employees do, or risk losing talented and skilled workers. Listen to the Experts Although you’re probably an expert in your field of business, it’s important that you listen to advice given by other experts who have perhaps been doing business for longer than you. Even the most expert of business people will have at some point faced setbacks and risk, so listening to their advice will help you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. It’s crucial that you identify the experts, listen to them and learn from them. Running a business is a learning curve, so never think that there’s nothing left to learn – nobody stops learning in business. Focus on Customer Service No company can run without customers, which is why it’s absolutely crucial that you aim to provide outstanding customer service at all times. Good customer service is the one thing that keeps customers coming back, as customers who feel appreciated and welcomed tend to stay loyal to a business. It’s important that you make your customers feel valued and listened to by knowing what they need, but more importantly making sure that the needs of your customers are provided for. Market research methods such as surveys are an excellent way to do this – for example asking each customer that comes into your store if there is a product that they’d like to see you sell. Don’t Distract from Your Core Business You already know what it is that your company does best, so keep the focus on that and don’t vary too much. If you do expand a product line or divert away from your main focus, it’s important to make sure that it makes sense – e.g. if you own a women’s clothing store but would like to expand, introducing a menswear or children’s range would make sense and be a positive expansion for your company. Again, if you do decide to expand a product line or start selling a different product, it’s important to make sure it’s something that your customers will buy. Just as you plan for when things go not to plan, it’s also important to have a plan in place for when things are going well. Stick to these plans, and you’ll begin to see positive growth. Images: “hand drawing a chart show/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.