My business expansion checklist

Business growth doesn't occur overnight - it's the result of careful business planning, high-performing team members, innovative ideas and hard work. Here's a simple business expansion checklist to help you identify areas of growth and work towards improving them.

Assessing your current position

Before you make changes to your business, conduct a thorough evaluation of your current situation to determine what's working and what's not. Ask yourself:

  • Have I put together a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis?
  • Have I benchmarked my business against the industry standard?
  • What market research  have I done? What are the key trends and changes in customer demand?
  • Have I used my customer data to further identify purchasing trends?
  • Have I updated my business plan?
  • Have I updated my marketing plan in terms of advertising, promotions and client communications?
  • How about my export plan? Is there enough demand to export interstate or overseas?
  • Do I have any recovery or business contingency plans?
  • What will happen once I leave the business  and who will take over?
  • Are there any products that aren't selling well? Why?

Identifying areas of growth

Think about the areas that aren't working. Are they external or internal? These areas typically include sales, marketing, R&D, data, customer service, finance, HR and IT. Make sure you tackle these first before moving on to the areas that are already doing well. Consider the reasons for their success and think about ways you could take these areas further in terms of growth.
Setting goals will help you think strategically and make it easier for you to achieve them. According to Queensland Business, ensure they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. You may need to prioritise some areas, while others can fall into step with your long-term strategy. Ask yourself:

  • Are my goals too broad or do they need to be more specific?
  • How can the success of these goals be evaluated?
  • Do I have enough manpower and resources to achieve these goals?
  • Are my goals linked to my business values and will they actually improve a part of my business?
  • Are they long or short-term goals?

Make a plan to implement these goals

Finally, ensure you have a plan to make the changes you outlined in your goals. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough time to complete each goal? Should I make some short-term and others long-term?
  • Have I listed specific and actionable items?
  • Which employee(s) will be responsible for each area or item?
  • What resources do I need to implement these goals? Are they financial (increased funds, government grants), labour-related (employee hours and effort), technological (new software) or physical (upgraded equipment, a new facility)?
  • Have I set a budget?
  • How will I know the action has been completed?
  • How am I measuring my success?

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