Sherri Flavel // Community Futures Fraser Fort George
Small Business BC reports 98% of all BC businesses are small businesses and, BC outperforms all other provinces in small business growth. Small business is big business in BC! When serving small businesses in Prince George over the past several years there have been notable increases in businesses growth and expansion activities.
Businesses are taking that next step to grow in different ways and for different opportunities…
- Market share expansion – capturing a bigger share in their current market area
- Moving into new markets – growing into new geographic locations including exporting and/or e-commerce, becoming more accessible to more customers by moving from homebased to a store front
- Diversifying products/services – adding more product lines or services to what they are currently offering
- Innovating – becoming more efficient and productive by acquiring new equipment or systems
- Moving into a new phase – moving from research & development to prototype development or, moving from prototype development to manufacturing and distributing
- Acquiring another business or competitor – purchasing another existing business to add established customers, products/services, processes and talent
If you are wondering if a business growth plan can increase success the answer is – yes! We have all heard that failing to plan is planning to fail and, just like a business plan to start a business can increase success, preparing a plan to grow a business can also increase success. Entrepreneurs can benefit from researching and planning to take their business to the next level in a strategic and disciplined way.
When planning to grow a business, there are many factors to consider…
- Will your existing customer segments engage in new business? Ask your existing customers how you can better serve them and also, do your research and question if you can help existing customers in ways they don’t yet know about.
- What resources are needed to support growth? Examine the ROI on purchasing and compare your findings to the benefits of leasing. Consider subcontracting services so you can grow and shrink without excessive business interruption. Know what new innovative resources might help streamline your business activities.
- Are there any regulations or permitting you will need to adjust or acquire? Expansion could mean changes in regulatory requirements, do your research and prepare for the time and cost of these changes.
- Will you need to make any adjustments to your HR plan? Understand the current labour market challenges and the impact on your business growth. Consider if you need to develop talent or add talent to your existing team. Ask yourself if you are prepared to manage growth by delegating management responsibilities. If you are introducing innovative technology know if it will lead to labour reduction and examine the impact on your HR adjustments.
- Above all – forecast sales and project your cash flow! Surprisingly, not all business growth is profitable. Do a month over month sales forecast and cash flow projection to support business decisions before you invest in growth. Know if your growth investment will leverage a reasonable and worthwhile profit increase.
About the author: Sherri Flavel is a Business Analyst with Community Futures Fraser Fort George. She works with businesses in Prince George to help prepare for business planning and borrowing opportunities. She is well versed in community and economic development and has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs to create strong foundations for business start-ups, purchases, growth management and succession planning.