Nearly every business wants to scale, but many fail in their endeavours due to their poor understanding of what’s required to achieve it.
What does it mean to scale a business? In essence, it’s about planning and implementing systems and actions to grow without any impediment to its operations. To scale is to go deep into planning, funding, systems, and resources to ensure all are working to the common goal of business expansion.
Unless you’re a mom-and-pop shop that’s happy staying small, you want your business to grow so you can maximize your profits and make an impact on the world. But scaling is easier said than done. In the business world, you face competition and the constant risk of failure.
To successfully overcome these obstacles, you need also have a good company culture, a clear brand identity, a cultivated client experience, and more. When the business is on a sound footing with these attributes, it’s ready to face the challenge of growing without compromise.
Here are our top 11 ways to set the scene to embrace expansion and growth in your small business.
Commit To Grow
The first step to scaling your business is to commit. Make up your mind that you want to grow. This takes a lot of will and ambition. But without them, you’ll struggle to stay the course when things get complicated.
So avoid a fixed mindset and adopt a personal growth mentality.
Revise Your Business Plan
Next, you need to develop and regularly revise a business plan that is customized for your business. With SMEs and startups, the pressure to have a business plan can override any genuine desire to have a program specific to your business’s requirements. Therefore invest time in a written document that defines your business goals and how you will achieve them. You can make your goals as ambitious as you want, but you need to write down concrete steps to get there.
If you don’t know where to start, look at some free examples online. Plus, get feedback and input from a business coach. Never has a coach been more relevant for you as you embrace change that will take your company to the next level.
Scaling your business requires some capital. Though some companies try to bootstrap their way up, this usually takes far too long. To scale quickly and sustainably, you need to secure funding first. To do this, you can get a small business loan from a bank, a business loan consultant, or a government business loan. Both will look at your business’s history and profit and loss statements to determine your eligibility.
Build The Best Team
You can’t scale on your own. It takes a strong team dedicated to a common goal. The faster you can build your team, the quicker you’ll be able to scale.
There are many options for staffing including:
- Recruit employees
- Hire freelancers, consultants
- Outsource operations
- Form partnerships with synergistic suppliers
The key is to delegate much of what you may have been eager and willing to do in the company to free up your time to work on your business. A professional, competent team will make it easier to develop loyal customers later. However, to ensure your team has the support it needs to perform, you’ll need to invest in systems.
Consider cloud services including an ERP, CMS, and to secure your business intel – a DAM system. While this action may seem over-the-top, it’s necessary so you can let go of tasks and responsibilities and move into a role working on your business. Consider this point – there’s no logic to hiring resources and then doing the work yourself!
Your business will also need to develop HR policies fit for an enterprise that is taking on new staff and moving into new markets.
In our digital age, companies need to use technology to get ahead. It allows them to stay relevant online and take advantage of huge economies of scale.
Global spending on digital transformation technologies and services increases every year and is expected to reach 2.8 trillion US dollars by 2025. If you don’t leverage technology now, you’ll be left behind by your competitors.
The right technology can also help you perfect business processes and operations. Standardize them and make them easily repeatable, so you can streamline your business for maximum productivity.
One easy way to do this is by eliminating inefficiencies. For example, can some of your meetings be replaced by a simple email? Will a Zoom call work instead of a business trip out of town? These are essential questions to consider.
No matter what, you need to secure sales to grow the revenue to support the growth and improve the net profit. Engage a sales strategist to build a sales process, system and a team to strengthen sales closure, including upselling. Marketing is also vital for filling the pipeline of prospective sales.
There are many articles on BusinessBlogs on lead generation, marketing automation and systems to create and manage customer data, lead flow, conversion and repeat business. Nurture your leads through the buyer’s journey and then have strong sales representatives close deals. After all, sales are at the core of any successful business.
A CRM is fundamental for managing your marketing and sales cycle.
Develop A Community
No man is an island. You need to build a strong network of people who can help you grow your business. Your network could include:
- Professional services i.e. lawyers, accountants, consultants
- Partners, advocates
- Social networks – followers on your business social media site profiles
- Industry networks – associations, affilations and groups
Your business community shares resources, referrals, and supports its members with high-value content, and promotions.
Work On Your Brand Identity
Of course, you need to build your brand identity as well. To connect with customers and stand out from your competitors, you should tell a clear brand story that communicates your unique values and mission. This will set you up for long-term customer loyalty.
One brand that does this well is Old Spice. Though their audience used to be mostly older men, they successfully appealed to younger generations with a comedic ad campaign called “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” They used humor to bring in new customers and show that their product is timeless.
Continue To Adapt
Change is inevitable, and your business will need to continue to adapt and be open to new challenges. Staying static is rarely an option in the business world. According to Gartner, today’s typical organization has undertaken five major firmwide changes in the past three years. So do your part to keep up with new business developments to stay in the game.
Invest in Research and Development
Staying relevant with customers is the main driver for investing in R&D. The R&D life cycle may include:
- quality assurance (QA)
Set aside capital for reinvesting in updating existing and developing new products and services. For example, the electric automaker Tesla spends $0 on advertising and stays at the top of the global automobile industry. How? They spend more on research and development than any other automaker so they can deliver a high-quality product. Word of mouth does their marketing for them.
Scaling your business is no easy task. It can be a long process, and many fail. In fact, 20% of new businesses fail during their first two years, 45% during their first five years, and 65% during their first ten years.
But if you follow the tips above by committing, planning, fundraising, building, adapting, and focusing on improving your business one day at a time, you’ll be better prepared to handle the growth that comes. And eventually, you could grow into a large business that stands the test of time.