Expanding your business by opening a branch office requires a lot of planning and work. While some steps such as finding a location and staffing your office are very logical and practical ones, there are many other actions you need to take when you open a branch office.
Identify an under-served market. Research competitors doing business in the target market and determine whether they are meeting the needs of customers. Go to the local chamber of commerce or economic development office and study the target area's demographics to determine if your services are needed in the area.
Write a new business plan that includes the branch office. Your local Small Business Administration representatives can help with this. Establish new goals for your business, including goals for the branch expansion.
Research industry requirements if you work in real estate, a credit union or the banking or financial industry. These industries have specific standards that apply when opening a branch office.
Contact the Secretary of State if you are expanding your business into another state. Learn the state and local guidelines and acquire the licenses you will need to open a branch office.
Find a location. Leasing is the fastest, least permanent option. Buying a site makes sense if you find a property that has what you are looking for in a branch office. If you choose to buy and build an office, be careful to not exceed your budget.
Establish the style of your branch office, including whether you want it to be a single office or have a drive-through window or after-hours drop area. Set the hours of business. By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish at the branch office, you will be able to set it up appropriately.
Plan for efficiency. Based on your immediate goals, hire and train the minimum staff you need to run the branch office at first. Set up your office with up-to-date technology and computers that will enable the smooth operation of your office.
Set goals for your branch office. Establish expectations for your client numbers, income, expenses and overall performance. Keep good records and review them regularly.
Market the opening your branch office. Add the new location to business cards and other forms of advertisement.
After your branch office has opened, expect to spend a lot of time going between your headquarters and branch office. Until all the glitches have run their course, you may have a lot of troubleshooting to do.
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