QUIZ: Have you overcome the barriers to growth?

QUIZ: Have you overcome the barriers to growth?

Several common barriers prevent small businesses from expanding. If you’re planning to grow your operations in the coming months, see how many you have already overcome.

1. Growth is all down to the right timing. Have there been any indicators that you should look to expand?

a) Yes. If your business is successful in its current market, with a few big deals in the pipeline and there are signs that new products or services would be well received, it could be time to expand.

b) No. If there are no signs that the time is ripe for expansion, you might be best holding off a little bit longer. Keep a close eye on your sales forecasts and market trends within your area to help you identify when it’s best to take the next step.

2. Do you have a clear expansion plan in place?

a) Yes. Research by The Bettany Centre at Cranfield School of Management shows that owner-managed businesses with a clear business plan in place perform significantly better than those which don’t and experience higher growth in sales and profit (1).

b) No. Without a clear business plan in place the chances are you don’t have the answers to important questions like how many new staff you will need, how long until the expansion is profitable and do you need to invest in new premises or new technologies? You will also find it much harder to secure any funding.

3. Do you have financing in place?

a) Yes. Congratulations, securing financing in the current climate can be tricky. Make sure you have asked for sufficient funds, or you may struggle to actually implement your plans.

b) No. If you are struggling to get financing from a bank, there are plenty of other sources you can look to, including crowdfunding or angel investors. Make sure you know exactly how much you need and what it will be spent on before you request funding, and put together a clear, concise business plan which demonstrates projected earnings.

4. Do you have something which sets you apart from competitors in your field?

a) Yes. If you have unique products or services, or even just a new way of marketing them then you have more chance of succeeding if you choose to expand.

b) No. It’s important to keep a close eye on your competition and look for ways you can differentiate yourself. Consider what would make a customer buy from you rather than them and what gaps in the market neither of you currently cover. Regular market analysis and talking to customers will help you identify the areas which are ripe for growth.

5. Do you have a reliable, talented team around you?

a) Yes. If you are looking to expand your business, you need to surround yourself with trusted staff who can be relied upon to take on extra responsibility. As the business grows, you won’t be able to micro-manage every detail yourself.

b) No. It may be that you need to hire some new staff to help you on your way to growth. If you don’t yet have the budget for full-time recruits, why not bring on talented workers on a part-time or even freelance basis, with a view to increasing their hours when you expand?


Mostly yeses

It looks like you have already overcome many of the barriers to business growth, but remember, proceed with any expansion plans cautiously and don’t take on too much too soon.

Some yeses, some nos

You are well on the way to being ready for growth, but there’s still some room for improvement. Steps such as hiring some new staff, sitting down and writing a business plan and getting funding lined up can give any growth plans a better chance of success.

Mostly nos

You may have some more preparation to do before the time is right for expansion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome the barriers to growth in the near future.



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