Once you’ve gotten a business well-established, the next step is often to craft a plan for an effective expansion. Business expansion is an essential part of the life-cycle of a healthy business, as growth ensures new sources of revenue, the ability to tap into new markets, and requires creativity — ensuring that your business becomes more fiscally sustainable and does not grow stagnant.

Below are three tips to help you in the process of expanding your company.

  1. Develop a Comprehensive Plan

A business expansion is most likely to be successful if it’s backed by a sound, well-researched plan. While some business owners may see a business plan exclusively as an element of business creation, a plan can actually be an effective way to organize your business throughout its life-cycle, particularly when expanding.

A thorough plan should include well-sourced financial data demonstrating how you will fund an expansion, and how you will achieve financial stability in the longer-term. This is particularly true if applying for a loan to fund the expansion, as a lender will want to see clear evidence that you are prepared for the financial undertaking.

  1. Start Slow

Many business owners have early dreams of building a business empire. While extensive expansion may be possible for some businesses in the long run, it’s best to think small and proceed slowly, particularly with any first-time expansions.

If you have one high-performing location, focus on opening a second, rather than two or three more. Alternatively, you might consider building out a significant web presence before undertaking any major physical expansion, as this will likely be far more affordable and will offer its own possibilities for growth. Whatever you choose, it’s important to only take on a reasonable amount of work at one time, in order to ensure any expansion is sustainable.

  1. Seek Advice

It’s always a good idea to get input on any business expansion from people with experience — fellow business owners, financial professionals, and others. Operators of similar businesses may be able to offer valuable insight into the expansion process, and help you avoid pitfalls that they may have experienced. Consulting with a financial professional will ensure you’re fiscally prepared for the process of expansion, and have a solid plan going forward.

Ultimately, growth is an exciting prospect for any business owner. By employing the above tips, you can help ensure you have as smooth and sustainable an expansion as possible.