Scaling up (or down) is a crucial moment in your company. It can spell the success or failure of an organization.
If you scale hurriedly or without proper planning, you might commit grave missteps that can be impossible to undo. In fact, expanding too fast is among the most common causes of why new businesses fail. On the other hand, if you fail to scale as soon as opportunity presents, you might miss out on these golden chances. Hence, careful thought should be taken when planning the next steps your company will take.
As your company expands, you need to revisit and make necessary adjustments in your operations, strategies, and tools. This new phase of your business will present unique challenges that you need to address. To effectively scale your business, we list down some tips to help your business succeed in this phase.
Evaluate whether scaling up is necessary
Even if you have a lucrative business idea or a product that sells like hotcakes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to scale up. There are several metrics and criteria to consider before you expand. This post from Telegraph identifies five key considerations before scaling, namely brand positioning, target customers, talent, product mix and business sustainability, and funding requirements. If scaling will strain your resources or dampen the quality of your product/service, then it might be best to keep your business as is. Some business models may be more successful staying lean and manageable. Keeping your business small and restrained can be a strategic decision.
Stick to your core identity
Some businesses fail at their expansion because they tend to forget their core identity. In an attempt to grow their reach, companies explore and venture into new products or services. Overly focusing on these new undertakings can distract them from their core products. If not properly managed, you can lose grip of your core customers and marketing channels. Before you try to scale, make sure you have a firm grasp of your foundation. And as you expand, consciously revert to your core and continuously improve it.
Automate and outsource
According to developers of enterprise billing platform Kansys, automation is crucial for businesses as they expand. Technology can help streamline and simplify labor-intensive and time-consuming processes. Business aspects that are commonly automated include accounting and payroll, billing, claims processing, customer relations management, planning, data collection and management, and sales. Alongside automation, you can also outsource other business aspects such as IT management, software development, digital marketing, HR management, research and development, and customer service. By delegating these tasks to third-party contractors, you can bring in extra hands cost-effectively. Your core team can focus on essential roles, thereby maximizing their time and expertise.
Simplify and streamline
One of the keys to successfully scale your business is by making it workable regardless of who manages the organization and handles tasks. This can only be achieved by simplifying and streamlining business processes. The tasks should be easy to learn and replicated. Ideally, you need to create standard procedures or templates that future workers can follow. By making the business aspects workable, you are assured that an unmotivated or less talented employee won’t cause it to fail.
Stand out of the competition
In this age of the Internet and cyberspace, consumers are bombarded with marketing content and offer from businesses. The information superhighway has made it easier for businesses to reach their target audience, but it has also made the competition tougher. As you scale up, you need to explore new strategies to make your business stand out. Capitalize on digital marketing to grow your audience reach and win more customers. You need to expand your sales and revenue to sustain your business’ growth.
Gradually detach yourself
As discussed in the previous tip, your business should be able to operate even without you. As such, you should deliberately and gradually shift responsibility to middle management. This empowers your workforce and encourages them to be independent. Business is ready to grow if it can thrive and succeed even when you are not directly involved in the operations.
When you scale your business, there’s the notion that you need to push the boundaries to achieve better results. But this is hardly ever the case. You must keep restraints and to avoid going overboard.
Three key areas where businesses tend to lose control include manpower, spending, and building. Scaling doesn’t always equate to more workers. As long as all business aspects are met, you can stay lean. Avoid hiring too many consultants, specialists, and middle managers, you won’t likely need them. Another common pitfall is overspending your financial resources. Keep all of your costs to the minimum, focusing only on expenses related to business expansion. Don’t create distractions by building new stuff or adding new features. Focus on your core product-market and main offering.
Aside from the seven tips discussed above, perhaps the most important would be to have the right mindset and attitude. When you’re scaling your business, you need to train everyone in your team to think big. Although it’s important to have the right plan, people, processes, and systems, having the right mindset is ever vital. If everyone in the team is focused on business growth, scaling would be much easier. You’ll be able to realize your organization’s full potential, increase sales, and be completely satisfied. Scalability is a long process and having the right mindset and attitude is crucial to its success.