As a business owner, your first goal was just to open and manage your company and hope it would outlast the standard 5-year period that most businesses fall prey to. But look at you now, a decade in and you have become a major success. Now you are faced with the possibility that you can expand your business further domestically or internationally. It's a far cry from starting out, but it is also a major task and you need to be aware of the pitfalls that potentially lie ahead.
The most important of the pitfalls is making sure your reputation is squeaky clean. I'm talking so clean you can eat off of it. The reason it does is because you are venturing out of your small market and into a bigger one and now more eyes are on you. That means people will dig for gold in hopes that they can have something over you that might dissuade you from making this move.
But, you already know that having a clean reputation is a must. I mean, how else would you have survived 10 years in the industry? But in the event that you did have some kind of negative reputation, you have several options to choose from, most notably hiring a professional firm to help repair your reputation. It is important to hire help if you can't do it on your own, because they will catch the things you have missed. If you are working on expanding and business operations, how much time can you devote to trying to repair your reputation both online and in print? Not much I am sure.
Having a negative reputation beat you to the place you want to expand to is the last thing you want to happen to you. Now, instead of setting up shop and getting familiar with the locals of that area you are spending your time trying to explain and show how you have changed your company and that you are going to do business the right way from here on out. It's a tough sell and an even tougher buy, so your best bet is to take care of all of that from the beginning to avoid this happening later.
Failure to prepare will lead to bigger failures down the road, especially when it comes to you running your own business.