Navigating an expansion can be tricky for small business owners. Growing too soon or too quickly can pose a big risk of failure, while growing too slowly can result in lost opportunities.
Amanda Walker Koronczyk, co-founder of fast food restaurant Lord of the Fries, knows the importance of choosing the right time to grow.
Her business started as a food truck 10 years ago and now operates from nine venues across Melbourne and Sydney. Recognising the potential to expand was the first step.
With husband and co-founder Mark Koronczyk, Walker Koronczyk began looking for a bricks and mortar store.
“Once we had done a season of festivals and realised that Lord of the Fries was a smash hit, we knew we needed to make a permanent locale,” she says.
“We contacted real estate agents and basically roamed the streets looking for the best locations.
“As luck would have it a shop on the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders was for lease. We saw the potential, took the risk and moved onto the corner.
“It was a great decision.”
For the burgeoning vegie burger business, a successful expansion depended on finding the right locations, the right people and the right time.
Change takes time, people need to develop the mindset to accept change and understand the philosophy and ethos we have plus the benefits of eating vegetarian.
“Change takes time, people need to develop the mindset to accept change and understand the philosophy and ethos we have plus the benefits of eating vegetarian,” she says.
“Australia has a large meat-eating population so we need to be sure that where we expand to is receptive to concept.”
Walker Koronczyk recommends looking for these signs when judging if your business is ready to take the next step.
Your products are in high demand
“I’m talking lines out the door and emails from people asking you to open here and there,” she says.
Your operating system’s in place
Business strategies should not only be documented, but tried and tested, to ensure you can remove yourself from micro-managing one shop and handle helping another grow.
You can meet large-scale demand
“When you can roll the products out on a larger scale to meet the demand of multiple locations or more traffic, which might mean outsourcing,” Walker Koronczyk says.
“This takes time to develop and master.”
When you are ready for the challenge
Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone.
Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.