Business expansion strategies
If you own a new or developing company, business expansion is likely at the forefront of your thoughts. After all, learning how to expand your business is the only way you’ll be able to achieve record growth and steer your company into its senior years. However, growing a business is not a linear path, nor is it free of hurdles. Rather, there are numerous challenges to overcome in scaling a business, particularly in the earlier stages of your business’ lifecycle. With the right resources and mentality, you can not only expand your business but also equip it for smoother sailing in the years to come.
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Business expansion 101
If you find yourself saying, “I need to expand my business, but I don’t know how,” you’re in the right place. Let’s cover a few common questions:
What does it mean to scale a business?
When business experts talk about how to expand business, they often use a term called “scaling.” “Scalability” refers to the ability of a system (a company, in this case) to perform well under a growing workload. So, in the most technical sense, scaling a business means developing its capacity for handling more work.
For the new business owner, rapid expansion might seem appealing, since it sounds synonymous with immediate profits. However, in reality, scaling a business is not strictly a matter of quickly increasing a company’s output. Rather, in order to remain viable in the long term, one must take great care to scale a business sustainably. This is where mindful scaling comes into play. Tony Robbins uses a hockey stick metaphor to describe a healthy business expansion trajectory: Rather than focus on a sharp, upward spike in growth (the hockey stick), we must focus instead on the preceding, linear growth (the blade) that must happen as an incubation period. By allowing a business to incubate and nurture its marketing, operations, branding and sales techniques, business owners ward off a potential catastrophe: explosive growth without an adequate foundation.
Can I learn to expand my business at any point in the business life cycle?
How to expand your business is a question business owners likely never stop asking, no matter the age, success or size of their company. Like people, businesses go through set stages of growth (the business lifecycle) to reach maturity: infancy, adolescence, adulthood and the long-awaited golden years. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you work to expand your business at each stage leading up to your business’ senior years:
- Business expansion in infancy: When your business is in its fledgling stages, this is not the time to prioritize business expansion. The business is not ready to run; it has not yet even learned to crawl! Instead, focus on laying your business’ foundation so it is prepared for future growth. Prioritize refining your brand, your business’ true purpose and your financial resources – and work strategically to hire the right team.
- Business expansion in the teen years: Once your business forms a solid foundation in infancy, it may begin expanding, seemingly on its own. However, just like teenagers, your business’ growth will likely be accompanied by growing pains associated with immaturity (think communication problems or a lack of unity). Be sure to address problems as they arise, prioritizing your company’s culture and values over business expansion.
- Business expansion in adulthood. Having navigated your business’ infancy and adolescence, you’re ready to expand your business. In addition to asking how to expand your business, ask: Where do I want to go from here, and what systems do I need in place to get there? Am I hiring (and firing) efficiently? Am I delegating effectively or am I overworked? Finding honest answers to these pivotal questions propels you toward the coveted “golden years” of running a business.
How to expand your business: Common hurdles
The art and process of business expansion is rife with challenges and hurdles. Some of the most common ones you will encounter as you work to expand your business include:
- Instability and uncertainty. Given the growing pains of business expansion and the inevitability of change, instability and uncertainty are virtually guaranteed. Remember, knowledge is power. Overcome this hurdle by arming yourself with resources and tools, like completing an online business course, finding a mentor or recruiting a business coach.
- Incomplete or nonexistent systems or processes. If your business is in its infancy or adolescence, or if it’s in adulthood but you did not manage its earlier life stages effectively, it’s likely you’ll struggle with ineffective (or missing) systems and processes. To fix this, find (or become) a true manager who will implement systems to steer your company forward into business expansion.
- Understaffed, under-resourced team. When your team is overburdened and undersupported, it is impossible for staff to do their jobs well, much less passionately. Even worse, putting too much pressure on each person to perform will likely lead to high turnover. As a solution (and preventative measure), hire the right people by finding professionals who are passionate, skillful and dedicated.
- Unbalanced cash flow. When your business’ cash flow is too low or too high, you will experience problems paying your bills or keeping up with the demand for business. To address this potential hurdle, focus on the financial component of the 7 Forces of Business Mastery. With the right technique, you’ll be able to forecast and prevent potential financial problems.
Develop yourself to expand your business
As the captain of your business’ ship, your overall functioning is paramount to your company’s functioning. Prioritize your physical health, mental focus and emotional serenity in order to remain calm and confident as you learn how to expand your business. You’ll find that the pursuit of holistic health fits hand-in-hand with the pursuit of business expansion; the former can only enhance the latter.
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Discover how to Expand Your Business the Right Way with Tony Robbins’ 7 Forces of Business Mastery free content series.