Recently I received a call from someone who wanted to take her program on the road. She wanted my advice on how to proceed and how to take her business to the next level.
After asking a few questions, it was clear that while she’d had a lot of interest in her program from other cities, she needed to spend some time documenting what she did; thinking about the guidelines and parameters under which the program would work in other cities and build in some processes to ensure that the people or organizations she recruited would be true to the essence of her program.
I cautioned her about leaping in and trying to expand too quickly, especially if she didn’t have the staffing or programs in place to manage the growth. My suggestion was that she tried a pilot program, perhaps close to her base, so she could monitor what was happening and learn from that experience before embarking on a full-blown expansion.
As a community developer, I’ve often found that what works in one community, may not work in another and it is important to tailor your offerings to suit the local group. So I suggested that she might also want to think about what was a must-have, and what could be left to the discretion of the community.
So often we feel flattered and pressured when other groups express interest in having your program or service in their community. It is easy to get seduced into growing before you are ready.
Like any business expansion, there needs to be homework done to ensure that all the pieces are in place, not just one enthusiastic fan who could disappear just as fast she appeared, leaving you holding the baby.