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Planning for growth will be wise move.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Question: I read that I should have a plan for growth for my business. What should I include in such a plan?

Answer: You are wise to plan for growth. Many businesses founder when their rapid growth overwhelms their ability to manage. Others dry up because of lack of growth. A good plan for growth should consider market expansion, staffing for growth, facilities and equipment needs and growth financing.

Think through your plan for expanding your market and identify growth strategies that best fit your type of business.

Can you expand your market by adding to the territory that you cover or from which you draw your customers? Should you add new product lines or services? Can you find ways to sell more to existing customers? Are your current customers a resource for reaching new customers?

Your choices will require you to plan correlated expansions of your marketing efforts.

For example, you may need to advertise in new media outlets to reach the new territory. Adding sales reps in other parts of the country may help. You may need to mount an advertising campaign focused specifically on the new products or services. You will need a way to make existing customers aware of what else you can do for them.

Your growth plan should consider how you will staff up for the expanded sales. In some cases, you can get more productivity from the existing staff, such as by adding technology to make your staff more efficient or changing work flow patterns to increase efficiency.

For a while, particularly if your growth is seasonal, you may expand your staffing resources by judicious use of overtime and temporary employees.

Ultimately, you will have to add staff and you should plan for that extra expense. Consider also whether you will need to add managers and/or information technology to maintain control of the new sales, staff and facilities.

Planning for growth may include planning for more sales floor space, more warehouse space or more plant and equipment for production.

Some expansion may be covered by outsourcing or by just-in-time supply chain techniques.

Don't forget to consider financing for expansion. You may be able to fund expansion through internal cash flow. If not, your bank or other lenders are a potential source. Banks love to help their existing business customers with well-planned expansions. Equipment leasing is a good option in some expansion situations. You may want to finance some growth by bringing in new investors, but be careful. New investors tend to dilute your control of your business.

Nevertheless, in the right situation, new private investors or even public offerings are good for supporting substantial growth.

Revisit your growth plan frequently. Focusing on growth keeps you motivated.

ASK SCORE appears the first and third Sundays of the month in the Business Section of the Register Guard. E-mail questions to askscore416@comcast.net. To schedule free business counseling with SCORE call 541-465-6600.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 6, 2009
Words:491
Previous Article:HOPING TO BE AHEAD OF THE CURVE.
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