Business Growth Guide
As an organization enters the growth stage of its life cycle, congratulations are in order for reaching this exciting milestone. Expanding a business brings new opportunities as well as unique challenges that require preparation and strategic planning. Reviewing the fundamentals covered in a business growth guide can help build a strong foundation for this next chapter. Additionally, partnering with experienced professionals can prove invaluable for navigating the specifics of scaling up operations. With the right information and support, a team will be well-equipped to steer the business toward sustainable growth during this promising new phase of the company’s journey.
Before looking to future growth, business owners should audit their organization’s resources and capabilities, so they know exactly where they stand.
Conduct an analysis to identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
- How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Small Business (SCORE)
- 9 Alternatives to SWOT Analysis for Business Planning (SCORE)
Discover where your business has room for growth or improvement and formulate a new set of goals.
- Search the SourceLink Nebraska Resource Navigator for resources related to mentoring, market research, and more.
- When Should You Expand a Business? (SCORE)
- SCORE mentors can help you solidify your idea.
- Entrepreneur groups such as 1 Million Cups and Startup Grind allow you to pitch your idea and receive feedback from peers.
While assessing your organization, do not lose sight of your current goals and responsibilities.
Your people are your organization’s most valuable asset. Be thoughtful in how you retain and attract the right employees to support your growth.
- Nebraska Department of Labor – Find resources for employers.
Maintain your federal and state registrations and Nebraska business licenses and permits to keep them current. As your organization grows and adds business activities, your licensing requirements may change.
- Nebraska Business Registration – Nebraska Department of Revenue
- Nebraska License and Inspection Portal
As businesses grow, the role of Boards and Advisors becomes more important as they provide outside oversight and a diversity of opinions.
- A Guide to Creating a Board of Directors (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
- 3 Reasons You Need to Formalize an Advisory Board for Your Startup (Medium)
Writing a growth plan is very similar to writing a business plan, however, a business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’re going to achieve it; a well-crafted business plan is key to taking your business to the next level.
Create a five-year plan, which includes expansion opportunities, a marketing plan, and demographics of your market area.
- How to Scale a Business (SCORE)
- Search the SourceLink Nebraska Resource Navigator for planning and marketing resources.
- The consultants at the Nebraska Small Business Development Center can assist with updating/creating your plan and market research.
Know your options, which may include franchising, expanding into new markets, opening a second location, licensing agreements, merging with or acquiring another business, certification, diversifying product lines, forming strategic alliances with other businesses, and expanding your web presence.
- The Truth About Franchising vs. Licensing in 3 Minutes (SCORE)
- Expand to New Locations (SBA)
- View upcoming classes and events on the SourceLink Nebraska Calendar of Events.
- Contact the Nebraska APEX Accelerator for assistance with government contracting.
Ideally, you should already have exit strategies in your initial business plan before going into business. If not, including it in your growth plan is your second chance.
- Exit Your Business on Your Terms (SCORE)
- 7 Tax Strategies to Consider When Selling a Business (NBDC)
- The Nebraska Small Business Development Center can assist with valuation and succession planning.
Having a better understanding of your market will allow you to run your business more efficiently and a powerful network can provide you and your business with opportunities for growth.
Market research is all about customers. It is important to know their needs and wants, and create the ideal customer experience.
- Find a SourceLink Nebraska Resource Partner that provides marketing and sales development services.
- Business Guide, Marketing and Sales (SBA)
- Target Market Comparison Worksheet (SCORE)
Networking for growth benefits both the business and the business owner.
Be strategic and borrow with purpose. Explore the various options for enabling your business growth. Thoroughly evaluate the need for financing, and know your choices, from bank loans to crowdfunding and venture capital.
- Funding for Existing Businesses (SBA)
- Financial Forecasting & Loan Packaging – (Nebraska SBDC)
- Business Incentives – (Nebraska Department of Economic Development)
- Funding Programs – (SBA)
- Understanding the Differences Between Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists (SCORE)