So You’ve Launched a Successful Small Business… Now What?

You've done it: your small business has not only survived, it's thrived. You're passed the "hope you have money coming in this month" stage to the "must expand to fit demand stage." So… what do you do now?

Expansion stages are one of the most important, and sensitive, life cycles of a small business. If they're handled correctly, the business grows and finds new levels of success. But if they're handled poorly, the business will stall, suffer, and possibly even collapse. Once you've reached a point where it's time to expand your business, it's important to take it in the right direction. Here are some of the things that your business can do to successfully establish itself as a force to be reckoned with.

Establish an HR Department

When a business expands, it needs to start hiring staff. And when a business starts hiring staff, it needs an HR department to manage them. HR is responsible for managing employee needs and personal data, and is the foundation that all other departments are built on.

Setting up a human resources department is a multi-step process, and all the steps involved need to be handled carefully. The steps for setting up an HR department include:

·         Create a staffing plan – A staffing plan answers the following questions: what positions need to be filled? What will the pay for those positions be? Given the answers to those first two questions, how many employees can the business afford to hire?

·         Create department/position profiles – Lay out what each position will be, what each position’s responsibilities will be, and the hierarchy of employees/departments within the company.

·         Start tracking applicants – To successfully recruit new employees, you need an accurate and efficient way to track applicants and hires. The easiest way to do this is to purchase applicant tracking software.

·         Execute a recruitment plan – Figure out what the recruitment budget is, what kind of recruiting tools to use, and where to target them.

·         Create employee management documents – Once employees are hired, the company will need timecards, performance review sheets, and other necessary documents to track performance and manage employee/management communications.

·         Establish an employee replacement system – How will the company handle employee departures/replacements? Will there be exit interviews? How many days notice will be required? Will positions be evaluated when vacated, or filled automatically?

Set Up Additional Departments According to Future Business Plans

After the HR department has been created, it's time to decide how to set up new departments to handle future business. What departments the business will have, how many employees each one will manage, and what each position/department's responsibilities will be all depend on how a business decides to expand.

Depending on the industry and the individual circumstances involved with the business, some options for expansion include:

·         Licensing company products

·         Establishing a franchise

·         Forming an alliance/merging with another business

·         Diversifying/expanding into new markets

·         Acquiring a contract with the government or another larger entity

·         Expanding the company’s online presence

·         Investing in new product development/patents

·         Opening additional locations

Businesses have lots of options for how to expand, and the right choice depends on determining what's best for your individual business. Find the avenues for generating new revenues that will work best for your market and your organization and create a new operations infrastructure around committing to those paths.


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