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Five questions to ask yourself before growing your business

Are you a Canadian female business owner considering expanding your business? If you're unsure of how to go about it, you aren't alone. According to news reports, Canadian entrepreneurs - both male and female - struggle to scale up and build long-lasting businesses. And although studies like this Ontario-based study from the Brookfield Institute show strong numbers for early-stage businesses, the numbers drop when it comes to established businesses. This suggests business owners face challenges when it comes to expanding a business.

Are You Willing To Give Up Control?

Sometimes, expanding a business requires hiring someone else to run it. Yes, handing your creation over to another person can be extremely difficult, especially if you like being the one in control. But some experts argue that growing businesses need leaders with different skills and knowledge than those needed for launching a business. And since unwillingness to relinquish control has been identified as an impediment to successful expansion, if you aren't willing to let go, now might not be the time to grow.

Can You Afford New Staff?

Growing a business often requires hiring additional staff who either have skills and knowledge to help your business expand, or to take over some of your tasks to free you up in order to pursue business-expansion activities. Take a close look at your current finances to ensure you can afford to hire new employees before making any offers.

Are You Prepared to Pay a Professional?

Investing in professional advice and guidance regarding your growth ideas can save time money down the road and improve your chance of success. Yet expert business consultants and coaches command large fees. If you feel ready to expand but are reluctant to pay a professional business coach, consider whether you're comfortable working with a peer advisory board or networking group. And consider making use of the free resource available for Canadian business owners, such as Canadian Census figures and reports.

Are You Willing to Finance Your Expansion?

Expanding a business takes more than desire and expertise. It requires money. Paying for new products, services, locations and staff may require more money than you have. And that means borrowing more, or getting one or more investors, who offer cash to become a part owner in your business. Think carefully about whether you're currently comfortable approaching your financial institution for an additional loan or credit line. Or if you're prepared to give up some equity in your business in return for a cash injection from an investor.

Is This Really The Right Time?

Attempting to grow a business too early can lead to failure. Sometimes, it's better to stay the course. Some signs that this might not be the best time to
expand your business include
:

  • you're unwillingness to devote more time to the business
  • your family doesn't support/understand your commitment to the business
  • the expansion doesn't fit into your short/long-term business plans
  • a lack of personal financial resources to invest
  • the thought of an expansion is exhausting, not invigorating

Expanding a business takes time, effort, and determination. Answering these questions can help you figure out whether now's the time to grow, or if your expansion plans should get moved to the back burner.

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