How do you know when to expand your business?

If you’re thinking about opening another location, then congratulations!  You’re probably seeing strong sales, a steady flow of customers (maybe even customers complaining that they have to wait too long), and healthy profits. But just because you’re doing well doesn’t mean that it’s time to expand.

There are a number of questions you should ask yourself before expanding. Most importantly, you should have a compelling reason to expand.

Are You Ready To Hand Over the Reins? 
Your business is your baby! You probably do most (or all) of the work. Are you comfortable with walking away for a couple of months as you open another location? Is there someone you trust to take over the day-to-day operations?

Are You Ready Financially? 
One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make when opening another location is borrowing too much money from their original location. The last thing you want to do is allow another location to cannibalize the original one.

A good rule of thumb here is to treat your expansion project like you would a brand new business. Hold off on moving ahead unless you can draw from an outside bank account or find a source of funding that is distinct from your original location.

Are There Customers (and Employees) Waiting For You? 
Only expand to another location if you can open yourself up to new markets. Think about who your current customers are. Do they travel long distances to get to you? Are they centered in your neighborhood? Are there new customers that will want to try your product if you expand to another location?

Also, consider your hiring potential. Maybe you’ve already exhausted your current employee market and would like to move to a new location to attract diverse talent.

Can You Recreate Your Brand?
Don’t expand to another location unless you can keep your unique brand voice intact. Huge brands, like Target and Starbucks, have tried to expand into new markets and failed miserably. Make sure you can maintain whatever it is that makes your business unique.

Check out this flowchart created by Fundera that guides you through a number of questions to decide if you should open a new location.

Use this flowchart to determine if your business should open a new location.

Leeks, Eggs and Bacon

I really love this dish. It’s quick enough for a weeknight and usually just the perfect amount of food.

Leeks, Eggs and Bacon

This is one of our most favorite reset dinners. There are only so many nights in a row we can indulge in rich meals before J and I begin craving simple, vegetable-heavy dishes. While this dish is at its peak in spring, if you can find leeks year round, don't be afraid to try it out of season.
Cuisine French


  • 4 leaves large leeks tough outerremoved, ends trimmed and only white and light green parts remaining
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup ⁄2chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (we use fresh it just tastes more like spring)
  • 1 teaspoon ⁄4salt
  • 1 pinch pepper


  • Cut each leek lengthwise into halves and then cut each half into half circles. Soak leeks in a large bowl of cool water to allow any dirt to settle to the bottom. The best way we've found to do this is using a salad spinner.
  • In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the leeks to the skillet.
  • Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. It's best to let them brown a bit on the bottoms. Sprinkle with thyme and cook one minute more.
  • Add stock, reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Braise the leeks At this point you can choose to either cover the leeks or leave them uncovered. Uncovered the flavor concentrates a bit more but covered there is more broth to sop up with bread. Cook for about 10 more minutes or until the leeks are very tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve. We like to serve it with some french bread, crumble cooked bacon and hard-boiled eggs.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How To Improve Your Business Through Tech

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

We live in a modern world today, and that means that when running a business, everything is focused around the kind of technology you use which tends to be based around the internet. People don’t really read newspapers anymore, they look online for their daily updates. So when owning a business, you need to make sure that you are current and on trend so that your target audience can see you and learn about you. The way you plan on doing that is your choice, but the more options you leave open for yourself – the more chance you have of making your business a successful one.

Understand and implement new strategies
You should always be looking at new ways to upgrade your performance and get as much traffic as you can to your website, but if you’re not too sure on new ways of doing this, you will find it extremely hard to stand out and be different to your competition. This is why seeking out help from professionals like WGroup IT Management consulting can make such a big difference. They will be able to find the right route for you so you can get everything you want and more. You will also want to think about the little things, like the presentation on your site.

A lot of business owners tend to think the more, the better, as pages will look full of information and life that way, but this is in fact how a lot of people fail. There is no room for your pages to breathe, and it can end up looking messy, chaotic and overwhelming for your customers. So don’t be afraid of blank spaces. They will open up your design and be a lot clearer to indulge in.

Review your social media account
Social media is a brilliant way to market yourself as a business because it is not only the biggest source of news and entertainment but only usually costs time at the initial startup. There are millions and millions of individuals who all have their own personal accounts, so do some research and choose the platform your target customers frequent the most. It’s important that you manage your social media account and ensure that you are posting regularly, otherwise, people will lose interest quickly. You need to put out content that properly represents who you are as an overall brand and business, as well as what you do and what you can offer people. Then you need to think about the appropriate hashtags and captions to combine it all together. This is important as depending on your hashtags will determine the kind of people that see your content. If you need help with this, let us know! We love helping businesses of all sizes establish a social voice. 

Analyze your data and learn from it
You collect data for a reason, so never neglect the information that you’re able to receive. Data is an astounding way that you are able to really read into what you’re doing, whether it’s working, how you can improve and what you need to change. It allows you to have an insight into every single area of your business. Data can help you answer any questions that you may have along the way. But this can only work if you pay attention and learn from what it’s able to tell you. For example, data can have the ability to tell you exactly how much traffic your website has had, as specific as how many views an hour, to how many views in that week or month. This tells you a lot, especially if and when you make various changes because you will know whether traffic has then dropped as a result, or doubled. With a trial and error process of testing new things, you can then figure out what was successful, and what was a failure.

Technology is such an important thing within a business, and new advances are happening at a rapid pace. Just look at how far we’ve come in the last five years – let alone the last decade. Start small with just a website and one social media account. Give those two things the attention they deserve and see how it affects your business. 

Your Business Needs To Embrace The Digital World

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

It can be tricky to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. A piece of tech seems to get twice as fast, twice as powerful or half the size every six months, on in the case of the iPhone bigger every release. This can be especially challenging when you’re running a small business. As the business world shifts more and more into digital territory, it can feel as though you’re getting left behind. But technology is not your enemy! New technologies can provide your business with just the boost it needs to compete in today’s market. Here are some ways in which you can use technology to keep your company on the cutting edge.

Smartphones and tablets
Chances are you already have at least one of these. You might even be reading this on one of them. Smartphones and tablets are the perfect piece of tech for any business owner who’s constantly on the go. It’s pretty rare that you’ll have time to regularly sit down at a desk to check your emails or schedule. That’s where your phone or tablet come to the rescue. You can check any information, respond to emails and arrange meetings all without interrupting your workday for even a moment.

The cloud
For any small business owner, storage can be a nightmare. The last thing you want is to find yourself buried under mountains of storage data. This can slow down your networks and make accessing vital information for more hassle than it needs to be. That’s where the cloud comes in. The cloud is a server farm that provides massive amounts of space to store files and data. It keeps them safe and secure and ensures that you can always find the information you need. When thinking about storage solutions, make sure you find a cloud provider that works with your business. Working with companies like Ntiva IT services and support is a great idea. That way not only are you in a better position to start using cloud services, but you’re also going to be able to embrace the IT side of your business much more confidently.

Digital Advertising
Gone are the days of paper ads and billboards. Why bother when there’s a superior and more cost effective method of advertising at your fingertips. For small businesses, the ability to focus advertising to be location specific is a gift. You can provide advertising that targets people in a small radius around the location of your business. This lets you avoid pointlessly advertising to people who will never be in a position to use your services. The best thing is you don’t need to be an expert in marketing to utilize digital advertising. You just need to do a little research into where to best direct it. Facebook is a great place to start. The algorithms on the site determine where users are located and address certain pieces of marketing towards them. This way you can make sure you’re targeting the right customers in the right places.

The truth is that running any kind of business in the modern world is something that relies on your ability to connect with the pace of the modern world and if that’s something that you’re not able to do then that’s going to be a serious problem. You need to be sure that you’re staying as up-to-date as possible when it comes to the digital side of your business. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up getting left behind by the competition.

Don’t be afraid to outsource!

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, outsourcing can be a veritable lifesaver. If you’ve been chipping away at your business and doing your utmost to keep it afloat, but you still need extra help on board, you should consider outsourcing. It can be a way to get some new perspective and to fulfill short term needs. 

It Highlights The Skills Gap

Nobody likes to think that they have a lack of skills. But when you are struggling with an aspect of your business, you will find that you are lacking strength in one or more areas. GOod for you for realizing that! The situation might also be a lack of resources instead of a lack of skill, outsourcing can help with that too. There are many companies that struggle as far as technology concerned. Companies like Houk Consulting work with businesses to ensure that their IT strategy is effective. Technology is a constantly evolving presence, and now, outsourcing to an IT company that knows what they’re talking about isn’t just common sense, but it’s essential to the survival of your company.

It Saves You Money

Obviously, it saves you money. Instead of hiring a full time or part time employee, you can hire someone to do a specific job at a fraction of the cost, and arguably, with better quality. While it shows you the skills you need in the business, saving money is a fantastic short-term solution, because it gives you that opportunity to accumulate knowledge in your skills gap, but also how you can better spend your money.

It Provides An Outsider Perspective

And as our resources are handed over to an external entity, it gives us that third-party perspective. They can see what we’re doing wrong, even if we can’t see it ourselves. It’s always beneficial to have another opinion, but when we’re so insular and used to our own ways, we may not have the advantage of an outsider perspective. It’s important to have this, not just so our faults can be highlighted, but it shows us what we can do out there in the big wide world.

Outsourcing is essential. We need the tools in order to complete pressing tasks, but we also need to know what we lack in. Outsourcing is a cheap and effective approach to this, whether it’s reinventing your website or it’s handing over the reins to someone who changes significant processes. Outsourcing can be a big boon to your business. It’s unfair to say that it’s using cheap labor because when we are beginning our business adventure, we need all the help we can get. Outsourcing can provide you with that help, not to mention reducing your overhead in the short term so you can get a perspective of the knowledge gaps and what you need to grow your business further.