Congratulations! Business is going great, and people are beginning to suggest that you expand. The opportunity is exciting and tempting, but you need to make sure your business is ready for the expansion before you take that leap. Expanding too quickly could destroy what you’ve already built, while not expanding could be lost potential. So, how do you know if opening a new location is the right step for your business?
In many ways, opening a second location takes as much work as opening your initial location. The big difference is that this time, you have to make sure you aren’t sacrificing your primary business. Expanding means taking on additional responsibilities, and you need to make sure you and your staff are ready before you expand. Before you can reap the rewards of an expanded audience and increased profits, make sure you are ready by considering these three key aspects of your business.
Know the Strength of Your Existing Location
Can your initial location continue to thrive if you aren’t there every day? Do customers insist on seeing you when they come in? Opening, and maintaining, a second location means that you won’t be available around the clock at both locations. Your business needs to be stable before you can consider opening a second location. That means your employees can handle the everyday affairs without you constantly in the office. While your second location is getting off the ground, it will need much more attention than your first location. This may be more than your staff can handle while you are in a meeting or even on a short business trip. You will also be living off the money from your first location. You have to be able to trust the first location’s ability to continue generating profits while your attention and focus are elsewhere.
Once you’ve determined your staff is strong enough for a new location, look around to see if there are additional factors that influence the success of your first location. Perhaps you are surrounded by other specialty shops that help generate customer traffic. If there are outside factors, can they be transplanted to a new location? Pinpoint the areas of strength for your business and make sure that they can be implemented or duplicated in a new location. Directory listings are an excellent way to increase the visibility for your business. Don’t forget to verify the accuracy and consistency of your online presence.
Determine if Your Business can be Duplicated
Ideally, you’ve created your business in a way that doesn’t require you to be there every day. One way to accomplish this is by having documented systems and processes in place so that an employee can deliver your product or service without you directly overseeing them. Even without expansion, the truth is you never know when something might happen to you or one of your pivotal employees. By having repeatable systems and processes in place, you are equipping your company to stay around for the long term.
As you look toward expansion, create training manuals for your employees. Have them cover everything from how to use the computer systems to customer service best practices. Have staff of different seniority and from departments review the manuals to make sure they are understandable to all employees. You might consider engaging a payroll and/or Human Resource service. Your second location has the advantage of receiving all of the knowledge, research, and development from your first location.
Part of duplicating your business will also involve determining who will manage your new location, and if you will have an ample supply of qualified potential employees. You won’t be able to be onsite at both locations at the same time; you will need to be confident in your employees and provide them with all the information they need to run your business.
Develop an Effective Communication Strategy
When you speak, does it feel like no one is listening? If you are struggling to get your message across effectively in one office, communications are likely to be further diluted by opening a second location. Communication affects everything from customer service to company culture. Once a message is communicated, it’s important that everyone understands it correctly. Know that even well-established companies frequently struggle with maintaining an effective communication strategy. Solidify your training program, prepare your marketing campaign, and review internal communication methods. Think about what communication challenges you are currently experiencing and then consider how they might increase with multiple locations.
Opening a second location is a big step for any business. It’s important that you’ve done your research and you’re confident your business is ready for an expansion. Once you’ve determined that your business can thrive at multiple locations, Safeguard will be by your side to help you manage and market your business as it grows. Your local Safeguard consultant can provide transition solutions and ideas to make your new location a success. From banners, invitations, promotional items to social media and online exposure Safeguard has the knowledge and expertise you need. Contact us today to get started.