The ultimate goal of most business owners is to grow their companies. It’s a long process, but many major companies start out as simple small businesses. Whatever size you ultimately look to reach, it’s important to be cognizant of all that goes into a successful business expansion. It’s an exciting process, but if taken lightly, or attempted haphazardly, can backfire. Below are three tips to consider when you’re looking to expand your business.

1. Make a Careful Plan

Essentially all businesses begin with a comprehensive business plan. But a business plan is not solely something you write before opening a company, in order to secure funding. Rather, it should be seen as a living blueprint for operation, one you can refer back to and update as needed.

This is doubly true with a business expansion. Your expansion should include an outline that may be an extension of your original plan. It ought to include a summary of your objectives, industry research, and detailed and accurate financial projections. This will both help situate you in your planning, and serve as an effective pitch for lenders, because you’ll likely need additional funding to expand.

2. Choose Funding Wisely

Assuming you need to apply for a loan, carefully consider your best options for financing.

SBA loans are a great category of loan to look into. SBA loans are partially backed by the federal government, and are designed to encourage small business growth. They are comforting for lenders who might otherwise be more risk-averse, and often helpful to business owners through reasonable interest rates and long terms.

You might also consider private funding if you have access to an individual, business, or group that wants to invest in your business. Private loans can sometimes be very beneficial if you have a good relationship with a creditor, as terms are typically negotiated on a somewhat personal basis.

Crowdfunding is another option worth considering, if your business already has a significant profile in the community.

3. Be Adaptable as Needed

Business expansion sometimes happens in fits and starts, and can be an awkward process. You may face unexpected hurdles or expenses, or you might find that your financial projections are inaccurate. Expanding a business can be as complex as starting one, so it’s important to be flexible in doing what you must to make your expansion successful.

In short, business expansion is an exciting part of the life of a small business. Do your homework, make a thorough plan, and your expansion is likely to be fortuitous.