Know When to Grow
5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself
in a Tough Economy

By Cyndy Bolton

You might think growing involves more work than you have time to undertake. However, growing your company doesn't have to be a painful experience. Before you begin, just ask yourself the following 5 questions, the answers will help you plan a painless growth spurt.

  1. Is your marketing plan current?
    If not, revisit it and see how you can refresh it in order to stay competitive. For example, have a contracting Webmaster give you a run through of your web site. Use their improvement suggestions to set goals for the site. Various changes for the better can increase traffic to your site and reinforce brand recognition. Sending out newsletters to your audience may also be a consideration. This will also reinforce customer loyalty

  2. How well is your product or service selling?
    Take a look at your products or services compared to your competition, are they doing well or do you need to push sales? How do you do this? Focus on this year's numbers and try and correlate them with something in the spending habits of your consumer. Was the slump in your sales due to the overall consumer reaction to the lackluster economy, or was it due to a more company-related issue to unanticipated supply-demand issues? If you take the time to investigate this, you may be able to curb this low sales pattern in the future.

  3. When was the last time you updated your business plan, if you even have one?
    Now is the time to address this issue. If you are heading to a financial institution for a line of credit or loan, this is absolutely imperative. Take a look at your balance sheet; do you have enough cash flow to invest into another part of the company that you feel could augment the sales of a core product or service? Try not to base your decisions for not spending on the basis of the general economy. You may be in a growth industry such as the environment. Take the time to carefully assess your options

  4. How well do you know your banking representative?
    Solidify this relationship through honest communication and they will be able to help you meet your goals. You may not think that they are willing to lend you a cent for your ventures. While they may be more reluctant to lend, the worst they could say is "no". You will never know unless you take the risk, and after all, that's what being an entrepreneur is all about.

  5. Do you trust your team?
    Can you perform your duties and allow them space for their own using a hands-off approach? This will be necessary for your business to see gains. By allowing each team member the space that they need, you will simultaneously be giving them the opportunity to reciprocate this by creating a healthy working environment.

If your company is in the position for growth, then take advantage of the opportunities of a slow economy. Low interest rates, value-added offers and incentives are only a few of the things you can take advantage of to give your business the edge. Remember, if you don't take advantage of the opportunity for growth, your competition will.