Good news, your business is doing great and needs to expand! Bad news, you need to expand because your business is doing great! That’s the mixed bag that comes with success, isn’t it? It’s nice to know that your business model is working well, and your customer base is growing. On the other hand, an expansion is a significant financial investment. It also means months of construction noise, inconvenience, bills and unexpected delays. Oh, and don’t forget about those times when your construction foreman walks into your office with news that your project needs more electrical work, or plumbing work, or foundation work. It’s a small fix, they’ll say, “but it’s gonna cost ya.”

It’s understandable that some companies may put off expansion for as long as possible, but that only delays the inevitable and hurts the business in the short term. If you need new equipment to land that big customer account, or if you have to expand your retail space to accommodate all those new customers you gained over the last year, then it’s best to start now and get it over with.

This is actually a really good time to dust off those expansion plans you may have sat on for a while. Numerous states are offering grants for small processors – you can find out more about Indiana’s program in the cover story of our June issue of Independent Processor. While it may have been historically difficult for small meat plants to get loans for expansion projects, the COVID pandemic has changed the landscape somewhat.

One piece of advice, should you look to start an expansion of your own: think big – bigger than you would normally think. Given the costs, a business owner might expand only to meet those immediate needs. Unfortunately, this means that you will outgrow that new space sooner rather than later, and your next expansion will come earlier than you wanted. If you add a few thousand square extra feet of space, then you have the groundwork in place for your next growth project.

Most processors who have gone through their own construction projects will tell you that their one regret is that they didn’t build larger than they did. You may find that the benefits of a bigger expansion will outweigh the costs in the long run.

Sam Gazdziak