Read This Before Opening a Second Location
When your repair business is thriving, it’s pretty natural for you to start thinking about more growth and expansion. When people think of “growth” in terms of their repair business, the first thing that comes to mind is usually opening another location. But how do you know if you’re ready for this milestone?
Signs That it Might be Time to Expand
You’re running out of space. If you find yourself having to climb over boxes or clear table space to perform a repair, it may be time to look at another location to handle overflow. Do a good cleaning of your back room to make sure you ACTUALLY need more space (and not just a better organization system).
You have a strong team of employees to support you. Opening and operating a second location will split your time in half. You can't be in two places at once, so appoint a trusted partner or manager to run things at your current or new shop.
Customers in other markets are demanding your services. If you find that you have a lot of customers coming to see you from other markets, it’s either because your business’s brand has a farther reach than you thought (congrats!), or because nobody in their market does what you do. Do some competitive research on surrounding markets to see which one has the most potential for you to set up shop in.
You’ve already maxed out your current market. If you’re dominating your current market and feel comfortable with your position there, it’s a good time to at least look into expansion. Again, do some research to first ensure you’re capturing most of your market, then look into other areas.
You truly believe that a second location is your best path for growth. If you’ve already considered the less expensive alternatives for growth and expansion, such as diversification, another location is probably the best next step.
Questions to Ask Yourself First
What has helped your current success? How can you replicate that? It’s important to consider if your previous success is mainly due to circumstances that you may not be able to replicate, such as timing or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This isn’t to say that you won’t be successful with your second location; it just means that you may need to take a different approach to success.
What are you trying to accomplish with a second location? Having a clear objective in mind is crucial in building your overral business strategy. Are you trying to enter a new market? Are you answering customer demand? Is this going to be a branding move? Are you trying to take advantage of a timely opportunity?
If your main objective is simply “to grow”, maybe there is another, less costly solution that you can implement more quickly to accomplish this objective, such as diversifying your offerings in your current location.
Maintaining Focus with Clear Goals
Keeping your objective in mind, think about your long-term vision. Where do you see your business in two years? Do you have more than two locations? Are you still mainly performing phone repairs? Maybe you have sold your business by this time!
Now, think about the specific short-term goals that need to be reached in order for you to get there. If your goal is to sell off your stores, what changes do you need to make to ensure that your business appeals to a potential buyer?
Additionally, it’s important to keep these goals in mind continuously. Spend no more than an hour each week to think strategically about what direction your business is headed. Brainstorm with other repair business owners in repair forums.