You fell in love the moment your storefront lights turned on. You’re a born entrepreneur, and after hustling for capital, you started your own business. You purchased business insurance and figured your coverage plan would keep you insured for as long as you’re in business.

That scenario was five years ago. Now, your company is poised for an expansion. You’ve built up enough capital and hired the perfect team. You’re going to start strategic planning next week. How are you going to expand? This age-old question sparks every entrepreneur’s imagination. The answers are diverse, complex, and exciting. Here are some ways you can expand your business and keep it protected.

1. Extend Your Business Insurance to Cover Your Expansion

Arguably, the most important thing you could do is protect your growing business with insurance. That includes liability insurance, commercial insurance, and workers’ compensation. Without extended business insurance coverage, you leave your newly expanded business at risk.

2. Double Check That Expansion Is a Timely Move

Before you start plotting your expansion, take a good, hard look at your business. Review your credit, balance sheets, tax filings, and revenue statements. Use this financial data to create an accurate projection for your business expansion.

Your financial situation should be stable enough for you to invest in your company’s expansion. Lenders, investors, and crowdfunding sources will want to see your financial records. The data you hand them will directly affect whether they give you funding for your expansion.

Sometimes, business owners will review their financial statements and subsequently recognize that expansion may make sense at a later date. For example, your sales may be trending upward. What you really need is one more quarter of the same kind of profit margins you’ve been seeing. After that, you’ll have enough of a buffer to expand.

Business, as you’re aware, is all about timing. If the timing for expansion isn’t right, postpone it.

3. Open Another Location in an Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

Chicago is full of bustling, established neighborhoods where business compete to set up shop. It’s also full of up-and-coming neighborhoods where young professionals and families live. You’ve likely had a storefront in the former but not the latter. To get the most out of your business expansion, put your next location in a neighborhood that’s projected to grow over the next decade.

You also can use your expansion as an opportunity to target new markets. If you’ve dominated a certain market, you probably experienced stunted business growth. New locations allow you to penetrate new markets, which can stimulate new growth.

4. Create and Launch New Products and Services

Also known as diversification, your business can expand by launching a new product line or new services. Typically, these new offerings will help you penetrate your current market more deeply.

Test your line within your existing customer base before you decide to launch. Your customers are a great source of market research. If they say they wouldn’t buy a certain new product, then you should reconsider launching it.

5. Build an Internet-Based Sales Presence

While storefronts aren’t a thing of the past, they do limit how much traffic your business sees. So many companies, from retail to consulting services, have transitioned to an Internet-based business model. It requires minimal overhead and reaches a worldwide audience.

If you haven’t started selling your products and services directly online, it may be time to expand into this avenue. Find a reputable web designer and a content production team; communicate what your goals are for Internet sales; and get an estimate for a new-and-improved, sales-focused website. Often, this pivot to e-commerce costs less than expanding your business to a new storefront.

If you do choose to expand via an Internet delivery channel, make sure you’re working with SEO specialists to optimize the products and services on your website.

6. Target Previously Untapped Demographics

Like every great entrepreneur, you know who’s buying your products. You’ve analyzed buying trends. You’ve seen who comes in and out of your storefront. With your astute awareness, do you know the kinds of people who aren’t purchasing your products?

Conduct some light market research and find out which populations in Chicago would benefit from your services. Then, tap into that audience with a targeted marketing campaign.

7. Merge With Another Business

An acquisition is the fastest way to expand your business. It can double or even triple the size of your business as soon as the paperwork is signed.

If you’re interested in merging with another company, choose your new partners wisely. Your company and theirs should blend together easily. Their staff, the positions they fill, and the qualifications they have should line up with your company’s needs.

During the merger, talk to the experts at Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc. Our team will let you know how you can extend your business insurance plan to cover your recently expanded company. We offer free estimates and elite customer service. For more information, call us today.