Expansion into a new city is simultaneously exciting and trying for any business owner. It’s natural to feel excited to try your hand at a different market and grow your business. However, expanding requires an investment of time and money with no certainty that your business will be successful in its new environment either. It can be nerve wracking to throw that much effort into a plan that may not pan out! But, if you approach growing your business in the right way, you’ll be much more prepared for whatever this evolution may bring.
Research the new market
Before jumping in, it’s important to do your research and know the ins and outs of any new area, even if you’re only looking to set up shop in a town fifteen minutes away from your original location. Who are your direct competitors in this market? Where are your customers? How do they shop? Does anyone even recognize your brand? The answers to these sorts of questions will help you figure out exactly what needs to be done, and whether or not you’ll have any sort of head start in your new city.
Make sure you have a BN
You are probably used to running one business on your own, but if you want to expand, you’ll most likely need to hire someone else. So if you haven’t already, you should apply for a Candian business number so you can legally employ someone new. Once you hire, you are now also responsible for collecting payroll taxes and following any province and federal labor regulations that apply to your industry. It is also recommended to look for employees with knowledge about the new area you want to expand to. They could have some great insight into the local market that you don’t.
Incorporate Limited Liability
I cannot over-exaggerate the importance of forming a separate business entity before making a serious investment in your company. Your business’s debts should be independent from your own, and you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your home or other personal property if your business doesn't work out. With limited liability, companies and corporations are considered separate entities, allowing the company to take on and be held accountable for paying its own debt.
Apply for local licenses
Nearly every city with its own government requires businesses within its borders to acquire a business license. This can get a bit annoying, but it is a legality that you can’t avoid. On the bright side, getting a business license is pretty easy. Most cities just want to know the business’s name, where it will be located, and if it needs any special licensing, like liquor licenses. And, of course, city governments almost always require a licensing fee.
One of the most difficult parts of expanding is ensuring that the guidelines of your brand don’t get blurred. Standardizing your operations early can help avoid this. Do you want your employees to greet clients a particular way? Use a specific sales technique? You can’t be in more than one place at a time, so you need to notify management and any employees about how you expect the business to be run. Write down any specific rules you’d like your employees at the new shop to abide by, and train them so they know what’s expected.
Having a plan really is your greatest tool during expansion. Figuring out where and how big you want to expand, and then making sure that you are protecting yourself during that expansion, makes the entire process much more smooth. So scout out possible locations, find new hires, learn what licenses you need, and then go through with your new development. Replicating the success you experienced at your first location isn’t going to be easy, but knowing what you are getting yourself into will make achieving that same success more possible.