Plans are vital for any business owner – your initial business plan is an important tool for securing your first round of investment as well as guiding the early months and years of your business. After that, though it can be tempting to simply drift: there are more than enough challenges to face day to day that planning for the future can feel like an exhausting waste of your mental resources.

It’s far from a waste – developing plans for the future and for expansion is one of the most vital investments you could make for your business. Contingency planning helps you to face difficult situations with more security, and making plans for future expansion lets you work toward them, and ensure that you can grow sustainably and with the best chance of long term success.

Taking the next step with your business, whether it’s opening a new store in the next town over, adding a new product to your line up, or shifting to a global shipping operation can lead to huge rewards, but unless you’ve planned for it and built towards that day, you could find the risks outweigh them.

For example, if you’re planning to begin selling your products in a new country, you stand the chance to boost your revenue considerably, but you need to spend time preparing. International research will help you confirm that there is indeed a demand for your brand in the market you’ve targeted: if people simply don’t use your products or services there, then expansion may be a waste of resources, or if there are strong competitors already dominating the market then establishing a foothold there may be both over-costly and time consuming.

You also need to take advice from accountants or lawyers specialising in your new market: if you’re not aware of, and pro-actively seeking to be compliant with any local regulations governing your industry you could find yourself facing fines or even banned from trading in that market! You also need to consider the charges and taxes on importing into the country. If you don’t know the right way to despatch your products to customers, they could find they have to pay unadvertised, and often exorbitant customs fees which could spell a swift end to your brand in that market!

Making plans for expansion means you can make informed decisions, and ensure you’re equipped with both expertise and finance to face the challenges that they bring, giving you the best chance of success.