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To Grow or Not to Grow—That Is the Question

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Factors small businesses should consider when debating their plans

When determining whether to expand, a small business should consider several factors, both internal and external. Answers to this age-old question are not easy, but hey, neither is running a small business in the first place.

Either way, keeping the following initial considerations in mind should help your company feel secure in its decision:

Strength of Workforce

How strong is your management team, and for that matter, how strong is your team overall? Having good people in place can only help during times of transition.

According to entrepreneur, writer and speaker Jay Goltz, there are other issues to consider as well.

"You cannot build a company without the right people," Goltz writes. "This requires both a great hiring protocol and the stomach to make the changes that become necessary as the company grows. This is easier said than done—especially when it turns out that people who were 'right' at the beginning are no longer 'right' in their roles as the company grows."

That being said, if you're considering growth, you probably have employees you trust and depend on, and they may be as excited as you are about growing your business. It just might be the right time to harness that excitement.

Funding Potential

Several factors establish funding potential, and our business loan professionals can help determine your potential in this arena. One step you may want to take, however, is to reexamine or rewrite your business plan or else create a new one detailing your plan for growth.

"All capital sources will want to see your business plan for the start-up and growth of your business," the Small Business Administration states.

Lifestyle Factors

Business author and In Good Company Workplaces cofounder Adelaide Lancaster urges small-business owners to balance goals for growth alongside long-term sustainability.

"More moving pieces inevitably mean more to pay attention to and more responsibility," she writes. "A business goal for lots of entrepreneurs is longevity. They want to enjoy running their business in 10 years. This kind of long-term sustainability can be undermined by growing too fast or too soon."

On the other hand, the timing might just be perfect for you and your company, and there's nothing wrong with incremental steps. Moreover, you never know—you might end up like K.Y. Chow of New York City. You might end up a huge success story.

Profiled on the SBA's website, Chow started Grand Meridian, a restaurant menu printing company, with just five employees—he has since grown it into a 30-person operation with annual sales approaching $3 million.

When in Doubt, Go Back in Time

If your internal debate has been raging for a while, you might want to go back in time to when you started the company. What were your reasons for going into business in the first place? What were your goals then? Your answers will provide clues to what direction you want to head in now.

Lancaster may have put it best: Business owners should "define success by your own satisfaction, carefully considering your goals, business purpose, role, motivations, and desired outcomes." She writes, "It is these elements that will help you decide the company size that is right for you."

Now that you may have a clearer idea of your company's future, keep in mind that our business loan professionals are available to sit down with you at any time.

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