If you’ve launched a successful small business, then it’s only natural that you’d start to think about expanding. Expansion can lead to greater profits, increased buying power, reduced costs, and help you keep up with customers’ ever-growing needs. In short, expansion helps ensure the continued survival of your business.

While all these benefits surely make expansion sound like it should be a top priority, it’s important to realize that there are many common mistakes that can cause business expansions to go wrong. Expansions require the same methodical planning as launching a business and failing to form a winning company strategy can undo all of your hard work. Here are some steps you should take to make your expansion go smoothly.

Objectives and Key Results

Abbreviated as OKRs, objectives and key results are techniques meant to align your employees and company goals. The OKR process is meant to help define and achieve business goals rather than assess individual performance. Each main idea of OKRs can be broken down as follows.

Objectives: These are the overall goals you want your company to accomplish. They could be short term, such as by the end of the quarter or long term, like by next quarter or end of the year. It’s important to clearly explain each company objective and why it’s important to ensure employee engagement. OKRs work by giving employees a sense of purpose and tracking overall company performance.

Key Results: KRs are the measurable results that will be tracked on a quarterly basis. Each company objective should have multiple KRs that can be measured to track overall progress. This is especially important for your most ambitious goals. KRs should be measured with numbers and objective data rather than by opinions. It’s important to realize that you may not meet all of your KR goals each quarter, but you’ll always need to inspire commitment when goal setting. If you are seeing great results with your KRs, you can even consider adding stretch goals.

Ultimately, OKR tools help keep your business goals in perspective and show accountability while you’re expanding. One of the worst mistakes a business can make is losing sight of why they started in the first place.

Prioritize Your Current Customers

Nothing is more important to your business than your existing customers, and taking care of them during your expansion process will help you tremendously. If you’re adding new products or services, your current customers are your best resource for figuring out how to sell them. You likely already know why customer feedback is important, so ask them how interested they are in new ideas and determine price points based on their feedback.

You can also sell more of your current products to your existing customers by analyzing customer data. By determining who buys what, you can divide your customers into segments and make offers to them based on their preferences. You could consider special promotions that reward customer loyalty, for example, or contact customers with specialized offers based on their purchases.

Legal Protection

It’s crucial that you don’t underestimate your need for legal resources as you start to expand. You may have already hired a lawyer during your business planning phase to ensure your business plan and other legal documents were spotless or to protect your intellectual property. Your need for a law firm on your side will just increase as your business gets bigger. You’ll need protection from legal disputes like debt collections or lawsuits, and you’ll need to protect your property and ensure all your contracts are airtight.

A lawyer can also help you create or modify company hiring policies and ensure you’re complying with all regulations in the territories you’re expanding in. They can even help you with your taxes in each state you do business. The costs of hiring a law firm now will pale in comparison to the potential cost of violations.