Business Expansion Ideas for SMEs

Business expansion is a double-edged sword, bringing benefits and dangers in equal measure. Increased profits only come from growth, but you also know that pushing the boundaries too far could spell disaster. Outlined below is a simple strategy for controlled expansion. You’ll maximise space and minimise outgoings, creating the ideal working environment for improved profits.
The Need For Space
Expanded operations generally call for more working space. E-commerce businesses need extra room for stock storage and office-based service providers need more desk space for extra staff.

With office rental costs being a major expense, stock storage and admin tasks are often performed in the same area, leaving no room for expansion. There are two clear choices: move the stock or move the staff. Here’s how:
Moving the Stock
Unless you’ve had a recent windfall, warehousing is probably beyond the budget. And unless you already have a big stock turnover you don’t need acres of storage space.

The middle ground between onsite storage and warehousing is self storage. This is an option many small business owners are already taking advantage of. In fact, self storage companies report that they rent up to 42% of their available space to commercial operations.

Users cite these benefits:

Low cost when compared to other stock storage options such as warehousing or additional office space.
No business rates since the storage company pays the rates, and VAT on storage rooms can be claimed back.
Short term contracts for built in flexibility. Seven-day notice periods make it a quick, simple matter to add or give up storage rooms as needs dictate.
Choose one big room for all inventory, or several smaller ones to manage stock segmentation.
Convenient town locations with generous access makes deliveries easy regardless of vehicle size.
Large lockers available that make controlled, low cost expansion possible when the overspill from existing storage extends to just a few boxes.

Making Use of Freed-Up Office Space
Having a more efficient method for the storage of stock now means there’s more office space. There are two ways to make this pay:

Hire more staff – If you need extra help to stay on top of orders or customer service, moving stock makes space for an extra desk. The improved sales numbers that come with higher stock levels should generate the finances needed to hire help.

Rent out spare space – If you’re still managing daily operations with existing staff levels, put that freed-up office space to profitable use by renting it out. Install a desk and wifi access to create a hotdesking zone, then rent out the space to a fellow small business owner or freelancer.

This tried and tested, simple strategy for controlled expansion has worked for many existing small business owners. If you’re on the edge of expansion and wondering how to proceed, it could well be your way forward too.