Chamber Chat - Business Expansion

Jul 29

By Meg Moss


A recent article from NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, indicated that small business optimism has been strong since November 2016, and this has translated to record numbers of business owners deciding that it’s a good time to expand their companies. According to the April 2018 Small Business Economic Trends report, 27 percent of small businesses surveyed believe now is a good time to expand their business, and a net 16 percent are planning to create jobs.

The Economics Trend Report mentioned above states that the Small Business Optimism Index posted its sixth highest reading in survey history for the month of June, at 107.2, down 0.6 from May. Since December 2016, the Index has averaged an unprecedented 105.4, well above the 45-year average of 98 and rivaling the all-time high of 108.0 in July 1983.

“Small business owners continue to report astounding optimism as they celebrate strong sales, the creation of jobs, and more profits,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The first six months of the year have been very good to small business thanks to tax cuts, regulatory reform, and policies that help them grow.”

As reported in NFIB’s June jobs report, 63 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire, up five points from last month and the highest level since September 1999. However, 55 percent (87 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. 

What does expansion look like for your business? It can take shape in a variety of ways, including: opening an additional location, adding space to your existing location or moving to a larger space, offering new products or services, entering new markets, adding employees, or acquiring or merging with another company.

The first step is to identify what method of expansion works best for your business.

If you have decided to open an additional business location (or move to a new spot with more space), starting with site selection and demographics is the most important thing you can do. Think about whether the space meets your needs, the level of foot and car traffic that goes by, and whether the customers you want to reach are located nearby.

According to the NFIB, now is the time. And local business owner Julia Alden is taking that to heart. She held a ribbon cutting for her Chalky South painting business in a 550 square foot studio in March 2018, and just four months later, she’s already spreading her wings and moving to a larger location – 2497 Jefferson Davis Highway, at the Village Plaza Shopping Center across from Jackson Brothers. The grand re-opening is set for Saturday August 4th from 10 am – 4 pm. Her new space is over 1,200 square feet, has additional parking, and allows for increased hours of operation. Alden said “it was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up.”

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