When you run a business, it’s natural to be thinking about growth. A growing business is one with its eyes on the future, not just following a set plan to improve, but actively looking for other opportunities to take advantage of. If you’re not planning for future growth and development, you don’t just miss those opportunities, they can be taken up by other people – competitors! This can lead to your brand being crowded out of the market by other businesses that are more open to the possibilities the world offers them.
That doesn’t mean every attempt at growth is a good idea and should necessarily be pursued without thought! All projects, including developing your business require an investment of resources. If your growth is successful, if the new shop finds a lot of loyal customers; the new product gets lots of good reviews; your brand thrives in a foreign market, then your investment will be repaid many times over. If that good outcome doesn’t happen, then your investment won’t be repaid. You lose the money poured into product development, into renting and staffing your new shop, into marketing and shipping your products abroad – and it’s not just a one-off loss. You keep losing money until you admit defeat and stop propping up that failed new venture.
On top of the obvious financial cost, there’s also the danger to your reputation. This is all taking place in front of a watching world, current customers and potential new customers alike. A success reinforces the loyalty of your existing customers and brings in new ones. It strengthens your brand. A failure is you failing to understand your customers and industry in full view. Whatever the specifics of your brand’s identity, failing like this can only weaken it, and the knock-on cost of that, over weeks and months is uncountable.
The way to avoid this unfortunate outcome is to plan and prepare. Make testing a key part of your product development process, so you can be confident you’re creating something your customers can actually use! Before you commit funds to expanding your brand abroad, source a thorough dossier of international research you can use to inform your plans.
Planning for each opportunity for growth might slow you down slightly compared to less cautious rivals, but it’s the centre ground between being totally risk-averse and totally impulsive driven that lets you enjoy success in the long term.