The classic story of Bill Gates is why so many small business owners hope to one day expand. Gates attended Harvard University, but did not have access to the kind of computer classes that he needed, simply because those classes did not exist at the time. Gates dropped out of college and created his own computer company in the garage at his parents’ house. The business quickly expanded when he bought a program from several developers and he eventually launched Microsoft. Anyone that owns a small business today dreams of one day being the next Bill Gates. Not only is it possible to become a millionaire from your company, but it all boils down to expansion.
Expanding your small business means that your profits increase. As you build up a solid customer base, those customers tell others, and you reach more people by word of mouth. Business coaching professionals warn against expanding before you are ready. Your business typically starts out small with you working from home or from a small office space. Once the work is too much for one person to handle, you seek out employees. After your company grows even further, you hire other workers, a partner, or a manager for the company. Many successful companies outgrow their initial storefront or office within a few years, which necessitates the need for a larger space.
The cupcake shop Sprinkles is a good example of expansion. Sprinkles launched as a small cupcake shop, just before the popularity of cupcakes skyrocketed. The failing economy played a role in its expansion. Customers who could not afford expensive cakes and desserts could easily afford a few dollars for a cupcake. Sprinkles kept growing as the market grew and customers loved the desserts so much that they kept coming back. Sprinkles is now a chain cupcake shop with multiple storefronts and dozens of imitators, but customers keep going back to the original.
Expanding is definitely a risk, but not if you play your cards right. Create a business plan, similar to the one you did when you first started, but include your expansion information. Describe your past growth and write an outline that details your expected growth within the next few years. This plan shows you exactly what the future holds and helps you decide what you need for the future. Whether you need new employees, or you need a new storefront, your business plan shows you how far you can expand right now.
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