06/13/2014 12:00 am ET Updated Jun 10, 2015

The 9 Questions To Ask Before Taking Your Business To The Next Level

So you've been in business for a couple years and you're drowning, but in the best way possible. People love your products and they can't get enough of them. You can hardly keep up and you've got back orders on back orders. You've considered your options and realized it's to time to expand -- or scale -- your venture.

This is a big decision and you absolutely shouldn't take it lightly. Here are some questions you should consider before scaling presented by American Express OPEN. Read on for some snackable knowledge.

  • Does my demand exceed my supply?
    If so, go right ahead. Just make you you don't compromise quality for quantity and that your infrastructure can support this move to more supply. If you're outsourcing any part of production, find reliable vendors, build relationships and invest in them for the long term.
  • Do I have enough space to expand?
    Make sure you don't turn out like this guy and outgrow your place. Once you have enough profits to afford a bigger place, take the plunge and go for it. Not only will you be more comfortable, but so will your employees and customers.
  • Can I afford to hire more people?
    Having more people on your team will save you time and energy. Take the time now to hire people who will be there for the long haul and help you throughout all phases of your growth. Ask them the hard questions that may make them squirm, but prove how they perform under pressure. Give them an aptitude test with real-life examples from your line of work. Then train them and watch them shine.
  • How do your competitors stack up?
    Have your competitors started scaling? If not, great! You're ahead of the game. If they are, not to worry. It's good that you're starting now. Just make sure not to rush and botch the whole ordeal. Take your time and be smart about it. Also check our how your competitors advertise, set up shop, hire, and generally run their business to get a sense for how unique yours is.
  • What new marketing strategies should you employ?
    Should you take out radio ads? TV spots? Hang up flyers? Have a sign twirler out front? Sponsor a parade float? The options are endless. Just weigh the pros and cons and get ready to have the word spread. Also, don't underestimate the power of word of mouth advertising!
  • Who are the people you need to know?
    You've heard this before, we know -- "It's all about who you know." So get out there and mingle. Head to conferences and social events for people in and out of your field. Identify your targets and then go after them in a smart and professional way. Take advantage of social media and connect with prospects on LinkedIn. This network of people can truly help your business grow successfully.
  • Should I open another location?
    So you've expanded, hired and increased supply. Do you need a whole other spot though? Quite possibly! You've got a lot going on and maybe you need to spread yourself across town or even around the country. This is a very exciting step that should be considered incredibly carefully. You'll need new managers, all new employees, new machines and transportation between the two. Enjoy this step and the stress that may accompany it.
  • What new processes do you need?
    Once you have more people, you'll need to eliminate steps so processes don't get too crowded. Automate using machinery or maybe even an assembly line, depending on your industry. Outsource with a third party to let your employees focus on the core elements of your business. Have training guides with all processes spelled out for new hires. This will save you time later and will be much appreciated by your employees.
  • What should be the new organizational structure?
    With new employees, you'll need new levels and new positions. Make sure everyone has a supervisor to keep things organized. Also, people are more accountable for their work when there is someone checking in on them for progress. Take advantage of this. Make a chart so everyone knows their place.

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