You may find yourself with new opportunities in the coming year. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report studied the current economy and found small-business owners expected to grow their profits by 8.7 percent between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2017.
Even when the atmosphere is right for growth, you should carefully audit your current infrastructure and consumer demand before expanding your existing operations. Here are four signs that indicate your company is ready to take advantage of opportunities:
1. You have a successful, visible cash flow
You shouldn’t look into expansion if you don’t have a solid base. Fundera, a small-business information exchange, suggested companies should wait until they have at least three years of financial success under their belt before they attempt substantial growth.
It’s important you are certain of your financial situation before you make costly investments in expansion. Hopefully, you have infrastructure tools like alarm billing software that makes financial activities consistent. Financial data collection solutions also give you a visible cash flow so you don’t base future plans on funds that don’t actually exists or may never arrive. You may want to make smaller investments in smart tools that will prepare you for big leaps.
2. Your customers demand it
Are sales coming in faster than you can process them? If your security business finds itself with more clients than service agents ready to satisfy complaints or upgrade systems, than it’s time to hire on more employees. Your customers may want you to grow along with their interest in your services.
Responding to demand is Business 101, but you should do what you can to anticipate want so you don’t turn away possible clients because you’re not ready for them. Employees who speak to leads should collect data during interactions that may indicate growing interest. When people from new locations, consumer groups or marketing channels start making contact, it may be time to expand.
3. Your employees show excitement (and have ideas)
Growth can be challenging. Before you make any big changes, you should investigate the feelings and goals of your employees. It may turn out expanding locations or product offerings may overtax an already exhausted staff. You can’t get bigger if you’re workers can’t keep up with current transaction rate.
You should be able to present them with expected results that will directly benefit staff members, whether the positive outcome be financial or in streamlining responsibilities. If you notice particular workers show enthusiasm for opportunities, you may want to place them in charge of certain expansion tasks so their excitement can carry the project through obstacles.
4. Your market supports it
In 2016, the U.S. economy should support small-business growth, but Forbes detailed a few challenges you should also prepare for, such as increasing interest rates and heavy scrutiny for small-business credit. When you get an idea for new products or services, you need to inspect the current market to see what opportunities and challenges present themselves.
If you keep your ear to the ground, you might find a market development – like low supply costs – that will indicate when it’s the best time to put plans into action. It may take some degree of patience, but as you collect data, you could also map trends so you can prepare for future dips and rises.
You can’t jump at any opportunity that presents itself, especially when you can benefit from knowledge gained by waiting. As long as you have data collection tools like security business software, you can record the information necessary to see every factor that could promote growth.