It is often difficult for the small business owner to know when to expand their business to new markets.

To make this determination, you must first know and understand your limitations. Expansion may mean obtaining new equipment, hiring more staff, or opening a new location.

Expansion Indicators

The earliest indicator that expansion is in order will be the loss of your customers. When you cannot respond to the needs and demands of your customer, you lose business. It is as simple as that.

If you are not able to provide quality service, then your competition will benefit. You must be able to meet the needs of your customers and exceed their expectations. You will need to carefully weigh each factor when determining what type of expansion will be the best for your business.

It may be wise to make small, carefully planned steps than to make big, overzealous ones. Keep in mind that you want to be surrounded by people who will enhance your venture, and not just increase the number of your staff. Carefully evaluate how new technology can impact your business; better equipment can help to dramatically increase productivity, and therefore have a significant positive impact.

You may want to invest in safety or continuing education training. This investment in your employees can pay big dividends. Additional training will show your staff that you are dedicated to them - and you'll be rewarded by greater staff retention.

Should You Postpone Your Expansion Plans?

Consider if a large and more costly expansion project can be temporarily postponed with well thought-out short-term measures. For example, instead of buying retail space, could you expand to international markets online? Or could you trim your shipping budget by going with a local cost effective vendor?

Short-term measures can save you money while giving you good alternative projects that help to grow your business. You can see what ways you can minimize waste or automate repetitive procedures - all of these ideas can help to grow your business while saving you money.

Expand with caution

Expanding your business can be the right move if done at the right time. Do not risk too much too quickly, as doing so will only hurt your efforts. Plan out each move and execute them with precision. Put your ideas in writing and make a timeline for each project. Doing so will help you to keep things in perspective and moving forward.

You will find that an ounce of prudence will go a long way.