Expanding a small business is no easy task because it involves a high level of risk – the business must be able to cost-justify an investment of both human and financial capital. If an entrepreneur isn’t ready to take on that risk, it could spell disaster for small business growth.
Months (or years!) of planning takes entrepreneurs away from running their current business(es) and accessing the necessary small business funding can be a hurdle. What does it take to plan and execute an expansion strategy for a small business? Hard work, dedication and the support of a diverse team of partners.
Seizing the Opportunity: Is It the Right Time to Expand?
Expanding at the right moment is critical to growth, but how do you know when the time is right? The answer is different for every business owner, and long-term goals and strategic plans play a large role in making the decision to expand a business.
If an entrepreneur has a goal to expand a current business endeavor, there are a few key indicators that signify the timing is right:
- Stable cash flow – When your monthly numbers consistently look positive, you’re doing something right. Either a diverse or recurring customer base, or both, signal that a lean month won’t break your business.
- Time to strategize – When you find yourself spending less time “putting out fires” and handling day-to-day issues, you have more time to strategize and plan for the next phase of your business. With this, of course, comes a challenge. Can your business operate without you being elbows deep in the daily operations, or can you afford to take a step back?
- A business need – It doesn’t make sense to expand if the market isn’t ready for it. When you can serve a new customer base from a different location or by expanding product lines, you can make a solid case for expanding your business.
Securing Small Business Funding
One of the most important aspects of growing a business is securing the small business funding needed for capital equipment, operations or human resources expansion. Financing can come from a number of different resources, and it isn’t necessary to rely on just one lender. In fact, diversifying your financing sources is a smart move.
- Internal capitalization – When a business is successful, profits in reserve can be an excellent funding source for an expansion endeavor.
- Traditional lending partners – A business banking partner is a strong asset when planning to expand. They’ve got a wealth of knowledge and opportunities to suit just about any solid expansion plan.
- Non-traditional lending partners – Between grant foundations, economic development enterprises and non-profit lending partners like the Entrepreneur Fund, the opportunities to secure additional small business financing are available and accessible.
Supporting Local Business With Flexible Financing
For nearly three decades, the Entrepreneur Fund has worked in tandem with traditional lenders to help local entrepreneurs with their small business funding needs. Our flexible financing solutions complement bank loans, making business growth in the region more accessible than ever before.
We offer SBA 7A Financing up to $500,000, which can have a huge impact on our region’s businesses – especially when paired with a traditional bank loan. In 2017, we closed 24 (yes, 24) SBA 7A loans, with a total amount of over $3.8 million.
Our Small Business Financing opportunities are available up to $250,000 and can include gap financing. In 2017, we exceeded our small business financing goals, closing over $7.9 million in loans to regional business owners.
SBA Microloans up to $50,000 are perfect for startups. We’ll help get you off the ground and ready to grow. We are extremely proud to have been named in the top 10 Microloan lenders in the U.S. for total dollar amount loaned – and we hope to distribute even more Microloans in 2018.
Assembling a Financial Dream Team for OMC Smokehouse
When the owners of the Duluth Grill were ready to branch out with a new restaurant concept, they went straight to the bank – but they didn’t stop there. Instead, they assembled a financial dream team of traditional banking partners, foundations and the Entrepreneur Fund.
Between purchasing a new facility in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, funding extensive renovations to the space, equipment purchases and general startup costs, traditional financing coupled with gap financing from multiple lending partners made all the difference.
With an excellent team of small business funding lenders working together collaboratively and creatively, OMC Smokehouse was brought to life, giving Duluth the BBQ joint the Northland never knew it needed.