If you own a small business then you may have some great, big dreams for your future. But with big dreams come big responsibilities, so it is important to make sure you truly understand what you will be setting yourself up for both when you set out to achieve them and when you finally do. Take, for instance, growing your business so that you have more demand for your product and service. On the surface, that probably sounds great - but is it really? Consider some of these "negative" aspects of growing your small business.
TUTORIAL: Starting A Small Business: Introduction
Building your business so that it becomes bigger is stressful, even under the best circumstances. If you are not in a place personally or professionally to take on additional stress then it might be a better idea simply to maintain your current market share and continue offering the consistent service and quality to your customers that you do. (For more, see The Pros And Cons Of Small Business Credit Cards.)
As you grow your business, you take on more risk. You might have more financial obligations, more stock to keep on hand and need higher sales numbers to help keep your budget on track and meet obligations. If you take on this risk before you are prepared to deal with it, you could end up hurting the business you have rather than growing it.
Your workload will increase when you grow your business. If you don't have the time or the desire to work more, then it may be better simply to be satisfied where your business is instead of making it larger and more in-demand. You can decide to outsource some of the additional work you take on, but you will still have additional duties to add to your plate, like training and supervising your contractors. And if your customer service standards, product or service quality, or response times falter due to the added workload and stretched staff, you may find that you lose business - and it is very hard to overcome negative word of mouth once it starts. (For more, see Keeping A Small Business Afloat.)
While you might be able to hire contractors to supplement your new workload with your expanded business, it might not be enough to adequately deal with the additional requirements. You might also need to add on permanent staff which will increase tax and financial obligations. While you are still dealing with the risks of expanding your business, you need to make sure you are financially prepared to hire more people and that you have systems in place for training consistently and monitoring them. (For more, see Small Business Tax Obligations: Payroll Taxes.)
You probably remember a time when you initially built your small business and had less personal time to spend with friends and family - a time when weekends and evenings were really no different than weekdays for you. If you've gotten past that point and now have weekends and weeknights to spend at home again, you may be forced to give that up in order to build you business up further. And if you've never left that initial stage, then growing your business means another few years of keeping up that pace.
The Bottom Line
In theory, growing your business is a good idea. But in practice it takes a lot more than just dreams and goals to implement the growth. Before you set out on that course, make sure you are completely prepared to make the sacrifices that go along with it. And if you find that you aren't, there is nothing wrong with that. You should be proud of all that you have accomplished with even starting and maintaining a business. Making it larger doesn't have to be one of the things that you set out to do. (For more, see 7 Steps To Selling Your Small Business.)