Forging your career in the world of business is tough. Finding out your product or service along with your market can take time. Making it a full year without sinking is a success in itself.
As you grow, you should find yourself bringing others into your enterprise. From there you can take it steady and do your best to improve and make a profit.
If the time has come for you to graduate finally out of your starting location, you need to be prepared for what comes next. Small businesses start smart, as the name implies. At some point, they hire too many people for their current location.
That is when you have to expand, or set up a second location.
Now the benefits of expanding into a new space are clear, you keep the team together. At some point, you will have to delegate as the business grows. Someone with sufficient seniority will take over the other location though they will still report to you.
For the moment though, all you should be looking to do is expand the main location.
If you are an office based business, finding a space is quite easy. A lot of office spaces change hands over periods of years. There will always be a space available, the question is if it is right for you.
Pay attention to the situation with building maintenance. If it is the building’s responsibility for the upkeep and cleaning of the building, talk through with them the security measures in place.
Likewise, ensure that their maintenance is actually speedy and effective. A blown light bulb isn’t a big deal at first. If it remains unchanged that could signal wider negligence. If a fuse goes, who’s to say how long it will take to be replaced?
Check to ensure you can furnish the office. If the doors are too small and there is no effective way of getting the furniture into the office, you may have to reconsider the location. Alternatively, take a hit on the cost of new furniture.
If you are not an office based business and are in the retail space, you have your work cut out for you. Usually the first time you move into an actual retail area there is some significant groundwork that needs to be done to the location.
It is not a given that your first retail location will be in poor repair. Unless you have the funds to rent or buy a space elsewhere though, you’ll be looking at having to fix and check some faults.
First it is wise to call in surveyors. Surveyors will check the structural integrity of the building. This effectively means making sure the foundations are in order and not liable to shift. Also that no rot or otherwise structurally harmful ongoings are happening in the building.
This is a long term investment. Ensure that the location endures the long term is vital.
If the space is rented and the property manager has responsibility for the basic upkeep, it might still be a good idea to have surveyors in anyway. It may be possible the property manager will cover the cost.
Electricians will be your next group of professionals working on your location. It’s important to do a check of the current electrics in the location first of all. Faulty or exposed wiring risks blown fuses at the best, and fires and injury at the worst.
Once all current electrics have been given a clean bill of health, you can worry about wiring in any additional light sources. It might be that there’s no light at all in the back room, or that there isn’t enough coverage from the main light.
A general lighting plan will factor into your overall design of the location. Don’t forget to do it before the electrics are fully wired in. You may be calling the electricians back in again if you aren’t prepared.
Plumbers are your next group. It is vitally important that the electrics are turned while the plumbers work, and the water is turned off while the electrician’s work.
This will prevent any leak disrupting the electrics. If the plumbing is already in place to the degree, you want it, a quick check is all that is required.
If you are a business, which requires further plumbing added to the property like hairdressers or a bakery, a full-scale professional plumbing job is on the cards. It is best to take this seriously, any leaks while operating as a business could be very damaging.
Once the plumbing is complete, you need to think about the decor. Knowing what you want in the business is important. If you are a customer facing business selling prepared goods like food, you need to emphasize function over form.
If you are an antique store or a boutique, you need to match the quality of your wares. If there is any damage to the walls, getting a plaster in to repair is advised.
From there, a lot of non-specialist decoration can be done yourself or with your workforce.
Setting up your location is only the first step. Maintaining it is essential if you want to keep your costs down. Be aware of any problems that arise. Catch them early before much damage is done.
If you’re looking to franchise out or expand into other locations in the future, keep your floor plans and designs. These can form the basis of your next store if you can eventually afford to open one.
Expanding your business is hard. It requires a lot of time and work, but also a lot of capital. Making long term decisions and investing in them requires careful though.
Never expand if your business cannot sustain it. Never buy or lease a location if you cannot afford to renovate or run it. Business is about risk and reward, but be realistic with your decisions.
If you’ve taken your time to plan this carefully, you should be fine. Business favors the bold, but also the wise.
Featured Image: Image credit