Small business hasn’t had it easy of late. The pandemic called upon business owners, managers, and employees to be resilient, creative, and patient. With life and business looking to get back on track, now might be the time to move into growth mode.
Before you do, though, there are economic, market, and business factors you should consider. The pandemic has changed many things, with work habits, employee expectations, and customer needs significantly evolved. Here are a few items to think about ahead of making any plans to expand your business.
Review Your Competitive Landscape
The pandemic drastically affected the competitive landscape across many industries and sectors. Many businesses faced huge challenges, and some simply couldn’t survive and were forced to shut down permanently as a result. While unfortunate for those businesses, does this represent new opportunities for your business?
It might be time to assess your competitive landscape and look for ways to acquire new business from one-time competitors who have exited the scene. Their former customers are likely to be looking for new sources, suppliers, or relationships. If a gap or a vacuum has been created, it might be the right moment for your business to fill that space.
Assess Market Demand
Before expanding your business, it’s important to see what demand and interest exists for your products or services. Check for trends in your local trade area or access resources from business organizations such as a chamber of commerce, small business association, or provincial agencies that provide help to small business. They often conduct research and publish reports on business trends relevant to your needs.
Likewise, turn to your own business data and research sources to examine customer trends with a look at what’s been selling, what’s in demand, and what customers are saying.
Also consider what impact the pandemic has had on business and what is likely to change as restrictions lift. For example, the entertainment, events, tourism, and hospitality sectors suffered greatly over the past few years. But as things open up again, will pent up feelings from people eager to get out and enjoy life again translate into new opportunities for business? Or have some things changed forever, such as remote work and digital or online habits and expectations?
Weigh the Economic Impacts
The economy – globally, nationally, and locally – has been on a wild ride over the past while. Supply chains have been snagged across many sectors, causing problems for producing or accessing a wide range of goods and products. This has contributed to inflation at rates not seen in decades with the cost of fuel, food, energy, rent and more all going up significantly.
These will likely have an impact on any decision to expand your business. Before investing in growth, make sure you understand how rising costs and supply chain issues affect your business opportunities.
Consider Staffing and Hiring Matters
In most cases, if you’re going to expand your business, you’ll also need to bring on new employees. This has been a challenge of late. Would-be employees have a new set of expectations and demands when it comes to work and many people took time during the pandemic to rethink and reshape their career ambitions – from changing careers to retiring early, the dynamic is very different today.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently noted that 90% of their small business members in BC were having difficulties filling positions. If you’re going to be hiring, that means you’re going to have to be creative and strategic in how you attract, recruit, and retain employees.
From offering a robust and competitive benefits program to building a strong company culture, hiring and retaining staff requires new thinking and ideas. BlueShore recently hosted a webinar on this topic. View the webinar to get insights and inspiration on what employees are looking for and how you can effectively implement strategies to build and expand your small business.
Get Your Finances Ready for Growth
Once you weigh the opportunities and assess the potential, it is vital that you have your finances in order and plan funding for any type of expansion. BlueShore Financial’s team of business advisors can help you connect the dots and work toward your goals. From helping you assess your money needs to tracking down experts and professionals to help with complex planning, tax, or legal matters, our team has the experience to help you grow and expand your business. Reach out today to talk about opportunities for taking your business to the next level.
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