A quick search on the Internet and you’ll find any number of small business blogs extolling the virtues of expanding your business beyond the home and how to “go global”. We’ve even covered the subject, in part, here on the blog at Work Your Way in “how to appear bigger than you really are.”
(In fact, that topic really looked at how you as a freelancer can pair up with others to take on bigger/more lucrative projects. It’s worked for me personally and I know others have similarly collaborated in this way to form small boutique agencies).
However, I started my business because I wanted to work flexibly around my children, specifically during school hours, and I didn’t want to have to keep begging someone for time off whenever I needed it! Armed with a computer, internet access and cloud storage, I’ve been able to do just that – all from the quiet confines of my own home – and the business can continue profitably exactly as it is, without me having to worry about expansion costs.
Of course, that’s all very well for someone like me who provides a service over the Internet. What if you make or sell products, or have a hobby/craft business. What do you do when your business starts to outgrow the home?
Take this scenario, as an example (real life query):
“Sue” makes hand soaps which are selling extremely well. She has a shop on Etsy and has had an opportunity to put them in local shops. She’s worried about her ability to expand as she currently works full-time and runs her business in the evenings and at weekends. Should she take on someone to help with making her products? What agreements should she put into place to protect the relationship? The business is definitely taking off and there is room for expanding, but how does she take those first few steps towards expansion without potentially over committing and under delivering.
It’s a real concern for someone taking their first entrepreneurial steps into business. Should she keep it small, or should she expand, and if so, how? What are the costs and challenges that she should consider?
Have you been in a similar scenario? What tips would you give?