Mike Bidwell: The questions you need to ask before expanding your business

Mike Bidwell: The questions you need to ask before expanding your business

Whether as a result of organic franchise development or of mergers and acquisitions, growth brings new opportunities for success. However, if the right systems are not in place to accommodate growth, especially when it occurs quickly, things can backfire

The faster expansion occurs, the faster your business must be able to adapt to meet the needs of your franchise network and its respective stakeholders.

Otherwise, you risk your brand’s reputation and quality standards. With a poor or failed M&A integration, expected benefits may not materialize, and your core business could suffer. If you find that there is an opportunity for your business to expand, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions before you spread yourself too thin.

First, does the growth opportunity align with your company’s goals?

Do not fall victim to “shiny object syndrome,” getting caught up in an endeavour that is initially exciting but will ultimately become a distraction from your overall goals. For instance: Imagine you have a chance to acquire a successful brand with a reputable image. That’s great, but if that brand’s purpose does not align with yours, what is the point? Do not grow your business through any means that does not further your explicit ambition.

Next, are there other priorities to focus on first before taking on new business?

If expansion opportunities consistently come knocking at your door, then your business is clearly doing something right. But are there other items on your development “to-do” list that should be completed before you focus on accelerating expansion efforts? If you take on significant business growth on top of other major brand adjustments (i.e., product launches, leadership changes, etc.), you may find yourself overwhelmed by too much change at once.

Finally, do you have the right team in place to manage the growth?

Not only should you ensure that you have enough leaders and support staff in place for seamless transitions, but you need to be certain that the team has experience with change and growth management. A common mistake is evaluating your management team’s capabilities based on what they have done, when considering their capabilities against what they will need to do is requisite.

After carefully analyzing your company according to these three considerations, you should be confident to make a decision whether or not the timing is ideal for rapid growth.


Mike Bidwell is President and CEO of Neighborly. He was a successful and visionary franchisee and served as President of three Neighborly subsidiary franchise companies. In 2000, Neighborly named him Chief Operating Officer (COO) and in 2007, Bidwell was also named President. In January of 2014, he was named President and CEO of Neighborly.

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