This is a question every successful business faces when customer demand outpaces current operations. Is it better to hire help and grow, or simplify operations and stay small and profitable? There are compelling arguments for both directions.
Growing means you benefit from economies of scale, allowing you to increase your profit margins, but it also means more moving parts and potential for costly errors. Staying small means turning away customers in order to maintain your ability to deliver quality.
The wrong choice is to continue to struggle along and try keep up with customer demand. The best case scenario is your suffer the loss of a few bitter customers. The worst case is the negative attention costs you your reputation and all that growth disappears due to disappointed customers.
How to Decide Which Direction to Grow Your Business
#1: Examine the Business – Ask yourself what size the business needs to be. Some businesses do best at a larger scale. Others lose part of their essence. Take a hard look your business model to determine what scale it should be.
#2: Do a Values Check – Sit back and consider your priorities as an entrepreneur. What do you and your family need from your business? Is it financial security? Is it lifestyle flexibility? Consider what each option means in terms of your values.
#3: Assess Your Risk Tolerance – Consider what you are able to handle in terms of risk. Growing a business means taking on additional financial risk (not to mention the mental stress). Is the risk worth the potential payoff in the end?
#4: Audit Current Operations – Evaluate your current operations to determine if there are easy ways to simplify. Compare the streamlined operations to the potential upside of growing. You may be surprised to learn that bigger is not always better.
#5: Check Staff Availability – Assess the quality of the current employee market. Sometimes the decision to staff up or simplify comes down to whether or not you can find the qualified help you need to grow it. Don’t hire simply for the sake of hiring. Wait until you can find the right people to help you grow.