Are you considering expanding your events business? While there are many different factors that might push you in this direction, there are also common indicators and best practices to know before you take the leap. As an event rental business with multiple locations, we have learned from experience what a business needs to consider and do before green-lighting expansion. Here are some of our top tips to help you make the best possible decisions for your business.
Motivations for expansion
First, understand why you want to expand. Are you seeking additional bookings and revenue? Do you need more income? Has new competition been introduced into your market that is hurting your share of events? Perhaps a valuable source of leads like a major venue has experienced staff turnover, changing your relationship. Or, maybe you just feel stalled where you are now and want to leverage your talent and skills to help a new demographic. Whatever your reasons, expansion requires open eyes and clarity of purpose if you are to make solid choices about what comes next.
As you consider your options, conduct, and compile market research and use it to objectively evaluate each new territory or location. Examine your competition and compile any data you can find about the area’s demographics. Have conversations with vendors who already operate in the area and record anecdotal information about unmet needs that you might be able to fulfill. Market research will also help you make PR and advertising decisions later if you do, indeed, expand.
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Determine staffing needs
Expansion likely involves some increase in staff and support. If you are opening a new brick-and-mortar location, who will manage the business and your employees? Will you move any of your existing staff to the new site, or hire mostly new workers? Remember to be careful about writing yourself into the equation. You need to share the responsibilities in order to provide your current standard of service to more customers in more places at once.
Begin exploring ways to keep everyone in the company on the same page. Will you have annual meetings? Quarterly check-ins? How will you deliver training and monitor results? There are several business management apps that can help you work collaboratively, create and distribute schedules, and take care of important tasks such as payroll and finance management.
Emphasize communication. Invite feedback and provide easy ways for employees to contact management with concerns. Spend as much time as you can visiting all locations so everyone feels heard and informed.
There are many costs that are commonly forgotten when considering expansion. Double income is nice, but the expenses are real. Some of these might include an additional mortgage or rent, salaries, training costs and new inventory. Before deciding how you will expand into a new market, think about the associated cost and decide whether or not you are financially prepared.
Plan your introductions
One key step when expanding is sharing your plans with your existing clients along with your new territory. The rumor mill works quickly once it picks up chatter, so plan carefully to start communicating early. Let your new market know what you offer and how it meets their needs. Meanwhile, keep your current clients and colleagues in the know as well. They might be able to provide you with referrals or connect you with opportunities.
Expansion is a big undertaking, but not an impossible one. Use the above suggestions to avoid the known pitfalls and set your business up for a great future.