In an ideal world, companies would grow organically as they acquire more customers and get more established in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, that rarely translates into the real world.
Sure, businesses do slowly grow by themselves, but the process can stagnate if it isn’t encouraged by a conscious effort by the entire company to expand its operations and take on a more aggressive approach in trying to take the next step.
However, on the other hand, there are plenty of risks when scaling too quickly, so finding the right balance is key if you want to promote growth while ensuring that you don’t make any crucial mistakes.
So, to help you get started, we will go over some of the most important aspects that go into scaling a business and hopefully, help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls in the process.
Make a Commitment to Growing
In order to have any chance of executing a successful scale-up of your business, the first step is being willing to go through with the process of scaling in the first place.
Many companies have a rough understanding of what scaling could offer but are hesitant about pulling the trigger because they are afraid, or simply because they never find the time to develop a comprehensive plan for taking their business to the next level.
Now, it’s obvious that not every business may want to keep scaling, and some are more than happy to remain smaller and leaner and be the best option at serving their market segment.
However, those that have the ambition to become bigger and more prominent in their marketplace must wait for the time to be right to grow and then commit to the decision to scale wholeheartedly and with the entire team behind the singular goal.
Establish Your Goals
Another crucial aspect that will determine if you can scale your business is figuring out where you want the company to be once you check off all the boxes in the scaling process.
Many companies have a vague understanding of the fact that they need to become bigger, but what exactly does that mean? How many more customers? How much more revenue?
These are questions that will dictate your next decisions, so you need to carefully consider your goals and then base your entire plan on making them happen in the safest and most reliable way possible.
When you have clear expectations, it will be much easier to put in perspective whether a particular approach is worth it and ensure that you can sustain your scaling efforts.
Look at the Biggest Success Stories
It’s hard to become a success story if you don’t have a benchmark to aim for.
While you may have a rough understanding of what it would take to scale your business, you may not be aware of some of the more common roadblocks and could get stuck in the middle of the process if you don’t learn from the experiences and lessons of those that took the same path before you.
That’s why it’s so important to analyze the companies similar to yours that were able to achieve tremendous growth in a relatively short period of time.
It will not only provide you with insights about what steps they took and give you a more specific roadmap for the steps that you will need to take as well, but will also allow you to see their situation when they decided that it was time to scale, allowing you to see the areas that you may need to work on before you get started.
For instance, if you know that the company had a very effective system for using solutions like SharePoint or Office 365, you may want to seek out SharePoint consulting and make sure that you optimize your processes as well before moving forward.
Take a Hard Look at Your Team
No matter how good your product or your service, your employees are largely responsible for any success that your company can achieve.
These are the people that drive innovation, help improve your offerings, grow your customer list, and make sure that any issues with clients get resolved quickly, so when considering scaling, you must figure out if your human resources will be able to handle it.
While founders typically take up a lot of responsibilities in the company in the early stages, as it gets bigger, it’s essential to continually expand your team to ensure that all of the most important competencies and fields of expertise are filled.
Before beginning the scaling process, you must identify the areas that may need more human resources or specific expertise to grow and then seek out new members of the team to fill those roles.
You must also develop a comprehensive and effective employee retention strategy as quickly as possible, since keeping your best and most motivated employees who have been with your from the start can be one of the key factors which can determine whether you are able to scale successfully or see a quality drop in your output and start getting negative reviews from new customers.
Ensure That You Can Handle the Growth
Scaling can quickly launch a relatively small business to becoming one of the leading companies in the industry, but it can also become the reason for its ultimate demise.
While reaching new markets and tapping into new audiences is very exciting, it won’t matter if your business isn’t ready to take on the new clients and meet every single one of their expectations.
Therefore, before getting started, you must do a thorough analysis of your business and see if your workflow process is sufficient to keep up with the increased scope of the orders and keep customers happy.
But where should you get started?
Well, for one thing, make sure that you have a system in place for handling large quantities of orders in a short time frame – consider implementing a multi-channel inventory management system that can help you streamline various processes and give you real-time data and more control over how you handle your inventory.
You should also make sure that your customer support will be able to handle the increase in potential complaints and will know how to solve various issues, as it is one of the key metrics for measuring a business and is largely responsible for whether a company can maintain a good reputation.
Finally, remember that scaling will likely require funding if you want to maintain quality and not have to rely on cash flow to maintain the scaling efforts. Therefore, it may be smart to look at financing options such as a loan, a joint venture, or even a crowdfunding campaign.