A 4-step Checklist for Expanding Your Business to a Second Location

  • November 11, 2015
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You did it. You’ve built your business to a point where it’s nearly bursting at the seams, and the market seems to be ready for you to expand to a second location. This is your big moment, so take the time to do it right. Here are four steps to consider as you take the plunge.

1. Write the Manual

Try as you might, you can’t be in two places at once. For a second location to work at all, they are both going to have to work without you, at least some of the time. To avoid some of the growing pains of opening a second shop, document your processes and systems, and make a manual for all employees to follow. Better to get this out of the way now, so that it doesn’t tie you down later when you’re wishing you could clone yourself and run both locations at once. Years on, your staff can be referring to that same manual when they post listings for new hires, or make any number of other executive decisions in your absence. Pro tip: Use a wiki or other online collaborative document, so it’s accessible easily to your internal staff.

2. Know the Area Inside and Out

If you’re plotting out a second location, build a business case for why you’re choosing that specific area. Is the area underserved? What is the competition like? Are there other economic factors to consider, e.g. population or average household incomes? A second location isn’t just a way to expand your business beyond your existing four walls, it’s a chance to really grow and capture more market share— so choose carefully to give yourself the best advantage possible.

3. Have the Cash

Not much extra detail needed here. Remember how hard it was to get your first location up and running, and all the extra costs? Make sure you have enough “runway” to endure a similar spell as you get the second location online. Contingencies: plan for them.

4. Clone Yourself

No but seriously. Until this is actually possible, you’re going to have to settle for the next best thing. You need a leader; one that can take the reigns when you’re not around, and act as an extension of you in all of the ways that are important to your business. Do you have talent on your current team that are ready to step up? Or would it be less risky to hire some experienced management from outside the company? It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your business, so take your time with it. Impress upon them the responsibility they are being given, and the fact that you trust them with it. It will make all the difference.

Have you been through an expansion in your business that you’d like to tell us about? Contact us and give us the details, we’d love to publish your story here.