1. Positive Cash Flow and Profits
Growth costs money—it's just a fact. You'll need consistently positive cash flow to support the increasing expenses of day-to-day operations and big-ticket buys.
But in addition to its practical use, positive flow demonstrates to potential lenders that you are financially stable and perhaps ready for expansion. Before you consider making significant business investments, your cash flow track record must be longer than one season. Think of it as if you’ve hit a “new norm” in terms of business performance.
2. Adequate Market Space
Market research is a critical step in any growth plan. It's no use investing in new space, inventory and staff if the customers aren't there to, respectively, fill it, buy it or interact with them. Showing profit is not enough to trigger a growth phase. Your business should be seeing consistent, high demand—ideally, more demand than you're currently able to meet.
3. Engaged Employees
A successful business depends on engaged employees; they boost productivity and profitability. They work proactively and take responsibility. And they win customers with their enthusiasm and involvement. Perhaps most importantly, engaged employees help smooth growing pains for you and your customers during your transition, while also helping to capture more of the market.
4. Organized Systems
Without adequate systems, you and your staff will be overwhelmed by the flood of needs and decisions that come with growth, and your customers will be the ones to suffer.
Assess your business tools and processes and see where there are gaps or inefficiencies. You may need to invest in software for tracking and analyzing financial resources in order to keep up with new expenses, investments and income sources. Automated invoicing, user-friendly accounting platforms and data management tools can allow you to scale your growth slowly and steadily. And streamlined processes—easily imparted to your new staff members—enable employees to work proactively, allowing your business to function without constant top-down intervention.
5. Phased Growth Plan
Successful growth occurs in phases, not all at once. If you see the first four signs in your business, start creating a growth plan with defined phases, each of which should have measurable markers, timelines and funding requirements. Although you'll adjust the plan as you grow (because reality rarely lines up neatly with a spreadsheet), your planning will help you to see the speed bumps—cash flow issues, inadequate staff—before they happen.
If your business is experiencing these signs, it could be time to take on more and Worldpay and CAN Capital can help! If your business is healthy and poised for growth, click here for information on how Worldpay and CAN Capital can provide efficient access to working capital to help grow and manage your business.