What kind of strategy should I lay out to continue growing?
I am currently running a 1 year-old construction business that's renovating the St. Louis area. The business generated approximately $100,000 in 2007 (gross) and I am looking for ways or available funding opportunities that will enable me to expand. My goal is to hire at least 2-3 full time employees (currently using subcontractors) and I would also like to offer a benefits package to them over the next 12 months. The business is coming in, but I am reluctant to take on too much if I cannot hire the help I will need in order to complete the tasks. What kinds of loans or programs are available for women in this field who have already started a business, but are growing and looking to expand?
Yes, this is a common problem, with no set answers. There's that feeling that you want to grow but you're not sure whether you can afford to take on the risks.
This is a good time for some business planning. Don't shudder--I don't mean the full-blown formal document, but rather the core and essence, the essential business strategy, the key action points, and--yes--reasonable estimates of sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow as you grow.
Strategy is focus. Are you focusing on what you do best? On what some identifiable people want really badly? Research your finance question and do a good search of www.sba.gov,. If that doesn't clear it up, contact your local bank and your nearest small business development center.
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software
, which produces business-planning software,