Photo: Edgar Castrejon/Unsplash
A kitchen business is a fantastic small venture that is cheap to run. However, there will come a time when it is time to fly the nest in order to let this little venture of yours grow bigger, stronger, and better.
The question is, when do you move forward and expand?
Though the question is simple, its answer can be complicated, and there is no black or white solution as to when any home-based business should move out of the kitchen. Still, the following five signs are usually a good indication it could be the right time:
Perhaps you’re working on your business in the same place you have meetings, make products, prepare products for posting, and everything else involved in keeping things afloat. If this sounds like you, it could be time to expand.
A serviced office space might be a good first step for expansion. It gives you somewhere professional to work while allowing you to continue operating the practical side of things at home (for the time being).
Demand over one season or period is not necessarily a sign you are ready to expand. However, if you find that you have consistent demand as the months go on, and even have waiting lists, that is a really good sign it is time to expand.
If you want to be sure that the numbers do show consistent demand, start tracking them efficiently. There are many software options to help you do this, with Excel being one of the easiest and most accessible ways to track your sales.
If the industry looks good, then it could be time to expand. You already have your finger on the pulse, tracking new trends and patterns going on in your area. Whilst doing this is a good indication of how your industry is going, you can dig a little deeper with industry data collection and market research.
This will give you the numbers to back up the positive projections you can see, ensuring that you have solid figures to support any expansion plans. This kind of research is also essential for developing a solid business plan.
Would it be possible for you to leave the business for a few weeks and know it could run well without you there? If that is not the case, your structure is built on wobbly foundations, and it isn’t time to expand. Ideally, you will have strong foundations on which to build and grow the business, making you ready to expand and move away from that ultra-flexible kitchen-based business you started with.
It takes a lot of time to develop a business beyond the home kitchen stage. You’re always problem-solving, speaking to suppliers, manufacturers, customers, clients, lenders – all the while feeling like you’re doing the work of five people.
With this in mind, if you’re one of the 84% of small business owners feeling positive about their future, and you’re ready to go with no big life events or challenges coming up, this may be the right time to branch out. If, however, you have a lot of personal commitments or some major life events coming up, like a wedding, birth, surgery, or divorce, it might be a good idea to hold tight for now. Only you can make this call.
So what do you think? Is it time for your little kitchen venture to blossom and grow?