Expand Your Business: When and How

expand your business

It doesn’t matter what sector you are in; there will always be the possibility expand your business. Unless you are content to remain small, you can stand out from the crowd and beat the competition if you do stretch your enterprise further. I’m a freelancer and even I have had to expand my business over the years in order to keep growing, earn more and enjoy new challenges.

How to Expand Your Business

But what does it mean to grow a business? A few examples include:

  • Move into larger premises, using sites such as Proplist.com to find a commercial site to migrate your business.
  • Hire new staff if there is too much work for you or your existing staff to take on. You could also choose to take on a VA (Virtual Assistant) or similar in order to delegate tasks you don’t like doing or are time-consuming so that you can concentrate on the core of your business, i.e. for me, the actual writing.
  • Move into new markets, such as selling your product globally, or moving into new areas within your business.
  • Add new services for example as a copywriter I could add a separate proofreading service or a specialist press release package (I won’t, I hate press releases, but you get the gist).

You could do each of those things, but you shouldn’t rush into making hasty decisions. If you start to expand too early, your enterprise may fall flat on its proverbial face, and you stand the chance of losing money. You should only grow your business when the time is right.

Are Your Ready to Expand Your Business?

But how will you know when you are ready to expand? Well, when any of the following signs are true, it may be time to put that expansion plan into practice.

  • You are making great profits: If you are consistently making a profit, and you have money to burn each month, then it makes sense to think about growth. While you should put some of your profits into savings, you may also have the money to hire new team members, buy new technology, and anything else that will enable growth in your business.

 

  • You have more work than you can handle. You are probably doing something right when you have clients and customers banging on your door, proverbially speaking, so to manage the work coming in, you will need to hire new people onto your team. Otherwise, you (and your existing team) are in danger of burning yourself out trying to do everything. This is something I struggle with. My books are full for the next month at least and I find myself turning potential clients away. I need to find a way to cash in on the extra work without taking it on myself.

 

  • Your team is ready to grow. If you do have a team on your side, you don’t want to expand until they are ready. But if you have invested in training, and if they can be trusted to manage aspects of your business, then you have reason to start expanding, be that into new markets or new avenues that befit your business.
  • Your premises are no longer fit for purpose. After taking on new staff members, you may decide that the space you are working in is no longer adequate. When people are falling over each other’s feet, and/or you are in need of new equipment to manage your growing business, then (to misquote Jaws), you’re going to need a bigger office!
  • You are meeting all of your expected targets. When constructing your business plan right back at the very beginning of your business, you should have set targets that measure success. By looking back on your plan, you will know if you have achieved them or not. And if you have, you know it’s time to move onto the next phase of your business, whatever that might mean to you.

In Summary

You don’t need to rush into any decisions, but if you identified with any of the above, and there is reason to expand your business, then perhaps you should start thinking about how you can put an expansion plan into practice. By doing so, you stand a better chance of beating your rivals, and ensure further success for your business.

Have you recent expanded, do you have any words of warning or top tips for success to share with those who are thinking about it?

Freelancer Friendly Working Environments

Nicki CawoodI’ve been self-employed for over eleven years now and a full-time freelancer for over eight years. I can’t imagine ever being employed in the traditional sense again. Working for yourself is something that you’re either going to love or hate. It’s the working version of Marmite. There are pros and cons of course however for me there’s nothing better.

If you’re going to get the most out of freelancing or being self-employed and working from home in any capacity, there are certain things you need to get right. First of all, you need to be self-motivated or find an accountability partner to chivvy you along (more on this another time) and you need to find freelancer friendly working environments.

Working from home initially is perfect. It’s free, you don’t need to leave the house and who will know if you’re working with giant fluffy slipper boots on? There comes a time for many a freelancer however when working outside the home office, even if for short periods helps with focus, motivation and tackles the very real problem that many freelancers face, and that’s being isolated. When you’re logging into social media at lunchtime to get your fix of people contact you need to consider how best your needs in this area might be met in the real world.

Join a Jelly

This isn’t anything to do with food, I promise!  UK Jelly is a movement where individuals set up no hassle,

Logo credit: Anil Amrit

free monthly co-working events in the local area. These events are free and are perfect for taking along your work to if you’re avoiding procrastination, to collaborate with other freelancers, to have face to face contact with real life people (the people you see in the supermarket don’t count) and to work companionly alongside others with the same mindset as yourself. I’ve very recently set up a local UK Jelly, the first session being this week (16/11/17). If you want to see if there’s a Jelly local to you just search UK Jelly and see.

Freelancer Office Space

Sometimes you just need to be working in an office. If you regularly meet clients at work or need the structure of going out to work daily, then looking for a space via somewhere like Pall Mall Estates could be the answer. You may choose the perfect working environment for yourself and your business, either by yourself or with colleagues or others in the same boat as yourself. If done properly, i.e. speak to a solicitor if thinking about a shared office space, you could find yourself with a perfect freelancer working environment.

Home Freelancer Working

mindfulness, Nicki Cawood

There’s a lot to be said for working from home, I do much of the time. It’s the cheaper option (although you have to feature in the extra costs of having the heating on and electricity use during the day). I think that the most important thing is to create somewhere in the house that you feel good about working. I have several places. We moved recently and realising that I rarely used my home office set-up in the old house, I haven’t actually got one here. I use the dining room table, with music on and a candle lit. I have fabulous hidden storage in here (I’m writing this in our dining room now) so that I have everything to hand, all my files, folders and everything else however it looks like a normal un-cluttered dining room to the uneducated eye. It works for me. Sometimes sitting under a blanket on the sofa with the laptop works for me too.
If working from home as a freelancer find somewhere that works for you (and avoid too many sofa working sessions, they’re terrible for your posture).

I do sometimes hit the working space and take advantage of the free WIFI at the local library too so that I can escape the house!

In Summary

I think the perfect freelancer working environment depends on the freelancer and the area they work in. Some need a more structured office environment, some would feel stifled by that (me included). Some like to mix and match, working from home, attending co-working events and so on. Sometimes my perfect working environment depends solely on whether it’s term time or whether I am working with my boys at home. What would you say your perfect working environment is? I’d love to hear more about what ticks the boxes for you.

 

 

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