Branching out: How to safely expand your business

By Greg Bell

With the Games kicking off on the Gold Coast in a few weeks, there's been plenty of talk about the impact they'll have on the many local businesses. A huge influx of tourists is expected to bring great benefits to revenue and infrastructure improvements made in the lead-up may have a running impact on the appeal of our city.

Those business owners who successfully reap the rewards of the Games may find themselves ready to expand their enterprises sooner rather than later. However, there are always risks involved when it comes to growing. So, how can Gold Coast business owners safely develop their company?

Why grow at all?

Chasing growth opportunities is not only about increasing your profits. While you might feel comfortable with you business as it is, the most successful business owners are continuously and strategically improving their products and services. These businesses:

  • See improved revenue,
  • Remain relevant,
  • Outperform competitors,
  • And ultimately stand a better chance of surviving in the long-run.

It's clear that growth is not only a worthy aspiration, but vital to the longevity of your business. So, what are the drawbacks?

What risks are associated with growing my business?

As with any part of business, there are risks that need to be considered when you're growing your company. These include:

  • Sudden increased overheads and suffering cash flow,
  • Redundancy or inadequacy of existing processes,
  • Lack of internal capacity to meet growing demands,
  • A shift in company culture or morale,
  • Competing priorities and declines in product or service quality.

When a business owner seeks growth without measuring progress, seeking external advice or being unwilling to adapt when circumstances change, their enterprise may suffer. With that in mind, what can be done to grow without putting too much on the line?

Branch out to new locations

Market development is a common growth strategy whereby your business brings its services and/or products to a new but similar market, ie. new locations. With your current offerings well-established at one location, you should already know your target audience. This means you can find areas where your target audience is dominant and establish new locations to be easily available to them.

Doing your research is vital to success when you open a second location. You need to be confident that there is demand for your product and that existing competition won't outperform you. Your own assumptions about the proposed new location aren't enough in today's data-driven world – seek objective confirmation that there is room for your business.

One great way to test a location is to establish a pop-up store. With a short-term lease, you can commit less capital upfront and generate excitement for your product by disrupting popular spaces.

Along with testing for demand, you need to be certain you have the required resources. Your existing location should be promoting positive cash flow and be self-sufficient. A new branch is likely to demand the majority of your time, so you must feel confident leaving your current site to operate without you.

If your current location is starting to feel crowded due to rapid growth, you might consider opening a second branch in order to accommodate staff and reach new markets. However, if you can't fulfil the above requirements, simply upsizing within the same area may be a safer option.

There are so many incredible commercial real estate opportunities all over the Gold Coast that could see your company growing safely and steadily. For help finding your second location, or simply moving into a bigger space in your area, get in touch with the team at Ray White Commercial Gold Coast today.

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