It is great to dream big when it comes to your entrepreneurial ventures, but one thing is certain; if something starts off big, it has a higher chance of failing. Think of any multi-million enterprises, you can be sure they have humble beginnings behind them. Some advantages of starting small are that you have an opportunity to learn and gradually build yourself and study the environment around you. You are able to make plans and take rational steps to greatness. The key word here is ‘gradually’.
A business is like a human being; it is born, it starts to grow, it may struggle and be stubborn (teenager), it matures, it ages, it (probably) dies. The difference here is that businesses, unlike humans, can have many lives, by improving existing products and / or introduction of new products. What this basically means is; you need to grow your business. Growing does not only mean having a bigger building and more employees. It means expanding or diversifying your services, improving your products, opening more branches, serving a wider group of customers, bringing in more profits, etc.
When you do not plan and execute your growth well, you may fall victim to overdue growth or pre-mature growth. Overdue growth is when you grow too ‘late’ in reference to technological advances as well as your customers’ needs and demands. Pre-mature growth, on the other hand, is when you take on projects or new ventures to early in reference to your financial or human capacity. Pre-mature growth can also be a result of taking on too many projects at a given time or within a given period.
Before you undertake growth, expansion or diversification project, go back to your business plan to analyse where it is you plan to go, and by when you should be there. Also check where you had planned to be at the current stage, then look at your business status to verify whether you are where you planned to be and what steps you should take next. You need to outline your reasons for growth, so that you are able to evaluate the importance of the operation. You should assess whether you have the money to finance the project, if not, how will you obtain the money. If you are thinking of borrowing the money, you must be sure that you can afford to be in debt. Also, do you have enough employees on board, if not, how many more do you need, how long will it take to train them (do you have the time to train them), and how much will the employees cost you. Do you have all the necessary technology and skills to take on the project? These, and more, are the questions you need to evaluate when trying to measure how big a step you should take when wanting to grow.
The only way you can consume a full grown elephant is by eating it one bite at a time. Do not bite on more than you can chew. Rome was not build in a day, and neither can you build an empire in one go. Remember, gradual growth makes for better success, this way, you are able to keep track of all your activities. Growth is an essential part of business; it is the only way to remain competitive and to survive. You are better off winning with one small project, than taking on too many and loosing with all of them.