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So you have some big ideas about expansion. Well, why not, if that's the direction you're inclined to go. If you've been successful in your backyard growing and selling for the past year, it seems natural to expand. That's why companies grow. Success promotes growth, or at least the desire for growth.

Two important notes of caution. First, be sure you have had a successful full year under your belt before you think of expanding. It's important to know all the ins and outs of a business before you try to expand it.

Second, if you were content this past year with growing in your yard and delivering to your local restaurant, stop right there. Don't go any further. .. don't even read any further. Enjoy your free time and your extra income, and forget about expanding. Expansion brings problems. Why go out searching for problems? Enough will find your address without your driving up and down the street looking for more.

Of course, besides being harder to handle, a larger organization usually brings in more money, so if that's what you need to satisfy your needs (or your ego) —who am I to stop you? I'll even help you down the road in this chapter with some additional ideas and suggestions. Here are some factors to consider before making your decision.

1. What kind of person are you? Were you born to be in a crowd, or are you perfectly happy alone? Do you like to travel, or are you content to putter around the house (or garden)? Are you eager to sell someone on a new idea or shy about approaching others?

During this past year, were you happier in your garden growing or at the restaurant delivering?

  1. What kind of work do you like best? Are you happiest when planning the garden layout and ordering seeds, digging, planting and harvesting, delivering produce, keeping charts and records, or counting money, banking, and filling out government reports and forms? (Or was the high point of the past year simply reading this book?)
  2. How successful were you, and what seems to be the potential in your area? Are there lots of restaurants, lots of people, lots of gardeners, or just lots of nothing for miles around?

Your decision on whether to expand depends a lot on your answers. You probably can tell from your answers to the questions in 1 and 2 whether you're suited to expansion. But even if your answers indicate that you're unsuited to having a larger business, you can still expand — as long as your answers to the questions in section 3 were positive — that is, if you were successful and there is potential for growth in your vicinity. If you're happy and good at gardening, get someone else to handle the business or expansion end, to sign up new restaurants, and do the delivery. (Conversely, you might get someone else to grow vegetables in your yard or theirs, and you handle the business end.)

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