You want your business to grow. That’s why you spend time researching your market and looking for ways to improve your products and services. That’s why you spend money marketing. Heck, that’s why you are reading this article right now. But here’s an important question… are you ready for your business to grow? Are you prepared for a flood of orders if your next marketing campaign is successful?

It’s a common story that I have seen all too often: a strong marketing effort leads to a huge influx in business… which the company can’t handle. As a result, they perform poorly and disappoint their customers, or they have to turn business away.

How can you avoid a similar setback? By having a detailed plan in place to expand your business as necessary.

Be honest, right now, what would you do if 30 prospects called you in the next four hours and wanted your products or services? What if it was 300? Could you handle the spike in business effectively, and could you provide a high enough level of service that these new customers become repeat customers?

It’s critical that you have a detailed action plan in place to allow your business to respond to increased demand. Answer these three questions and you’ll be well on your way:

Who will I have to hire? What positions will you need to fill as your business grows? An administrative assistant? A shipping manager? A customer service representative? Not only should you have a list of positions ready, but you should know exactly what type of skills you are looking for. Do as much prep work as possible so that if you have to scramble, you can hire good help as effectively as possible.

How will I scale up my systems? Besides hiring people, what else will have to change in order to meet a spike in demand? Will you need new suppliers? New equipment? A new shipping company? Think these details through in advance and create an action plan to implement as your business grows.

How will I continue to provide great service? The biggest challenge for many small businesses as they grow is to continue providing quality service to each customer. It’s easy to offer great service when you only have a handful of clients. When you have hundreds, it can be much harder. Make sure that you have a plan for implementing systems and hiring help to ensure that your level of service doesn’t drop as your customer count increases.

Granted, it is unlikely that your business is going to literally double overnight. But even if it doesn’t, having a growth plan in place is essential for any business owner hoping to create a world class business. What’s your business growth plan?