Grow a Business

Expand Beyond Your Borders

“Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.” (Isaiah 54:2-3a NASB)

This passage from the book of Isaiah came to mind as I thought about today’s blog post.

I live on Montserrat with just over 5000 residents. The population increases dramatically during the festivals as friends and family return to celebrate St Patrick’s Festival in March or the Annual Festival in December. These times are usually a boon for local businesses in an otherwise dry and sparse private sector.

The daily struggle for many business owners is how to make enough to pay the staff and keep the lights on. So it comes as a surprise and totally off the wall when I say this is the time to consider expansion. Crazy idea right?

Another bible passage from Genesis 41 is fitting here. Joseph is in Egypt and has advised the leader that famine is coming. They have been given enough warning to stockpile grain not just enough for their own people but to sell to nations around. They did not wait until things got bad to set up a strategy to feed their people and to keep their economy growing. In the same way, you save for raining days when the sun is shining, now that things may seem tight and there isn’t a lot of activity, this is the time to assess your business and look for opportunities elsewhere.

In this season of quiet, look at how you can tweak your business processes? Whether you are a one-person operation or you have a staff of two or ten. Take everything apart and look at how it works and what can be improved.

If I use Montserrat as the model, although we have the capacity to handle an increase in population, it probably won’t happen speedily. How do you serve more people than those that presently live on island? Can your service be offered online? Can your business be systemized like McDonalds or a Pearle Vision? Yes, consider turning your business into a franchise. Are you looking at neighboring islands for new customers? How about collaborations that give people a visit to two islands for the price of that one big air fare?

Have you ever sat down and listed all the various tasks you do daily? If you were to break them into job descriptions and roles, how many more employees would you need to hire? If you were to be ill, who would be able to take over your job? Get your operations manual together. When you take the time to understand the value of your own contribution and what it really costs to keep your business going, you will be better positioned to see it as a product which has franchise and expansion possibilities.

Have you created an identifiable brand? Look at how various market sectors respond to your marketing and products? Would this work on another island or country? What would you need to change?

Even when you have no plans to expand, opening yourself to thinking bigger has the wonderful side effect of helping you look at the good, bad and ugly of your business. Dare to fix them and you are setting yourself up for success in feast or famine.

Nerissa Golden writes on entrepreneurship, leveraging technology and media to change lives and communities. She is a six-time author, now fusing business strategy with romance in novels. Follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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