Growing your business from a start-up can be a challenge, but when it comes to scaling, it can be even more difficult to find the right balance. It’s important to allocate and optimise your resources to maximise the benefits of your growth, buts this is only part of the process. Below, we’ve put together some of the most important facts and figures that you will need to know to prepare you.
- The speed of your growth may be overwhelming
Whether you’re new to business or you’ve been working in your industry for a long time, it can be difficult to cope with fast and hard growth. It’s important to know your limits – don’t be afraid of slowing down if the workload is getting too much for your team. When possible, try to redefine the roles of your team – from management to front-of-house staff – and recruit new talent appropriately. The more prepared you are for your growth, the easier it will be to deal with it.
- You will need to retrain staff and recruit
It is essential that you continue to invest in employee training during scaling – not only to ensure that your staff remain motivated and well-versed in their roles, but that they can cope with the demands of growth. You should, similarly, recruit as appropriate, but don’t just settle for the first candidate that works through the door. Instead, try and imagine that you’re recruiting somebody during a time of stability – does this candidate have all of the skills and qualities you would look for?
- Management will change
It would be impossible to grow without changing the style of your management. As team sizes change and your responsibilities increase, be prepared to look for managerial talent to help ease some of the burdens from your existing team members. Whether this means splitting your team into sub-groups or departmentalising, stability and hierarchy are essential.
- Your marketing strategy will adapt
Whether you have been outsourcing your digital marketing or you have been shouting about your business in-house, the goals and targets of your campaigns will undoubtedly change during scaling. This could mean that you take a more aggressive marketing stance, or you may hold off from promoting individual services or products that you are struggling to fulfil.
- Customer service will be affected
Customer service is one of the most important parts of running a successful business, but the way in which you deal with customers’ concerns will undoubtedly change following scaling. Be prepared to make changes quickly in order to maintain a consistent level of service.
- You will need to make international calls
In addition to meeting new clients and arranging trade deals, the chances are that you will need to speak with potential clients overseas. It’s possible to arrange a cheap conference call service to reduce the cost of your international expansion when you work with a provider such as Planet Numbers, so be sure to set up the necessary software before you embark on expansion. This way, you will be able to avoid expensive phone bills and enjoy the comfort of having your clients at the other end of the phone.
- Existing customers may be concerned
Throughout any period of growth or change, it is important to keep your existing clients well informed. The chances are that they have concerns over the level of service they will receive when you deal with new customers, so send out a reassuring email or blog post that highlights the benefits of your growth and thanks them for their support and patience during challenging business times. The more transparent you can be with your clientele, the more likely they are to stick around and see your development as a positive rather than a red flag for a weaker, less personable service.
- You may need to outsource
Entrepreneurs often ask the question of whether it’s best to hire or outsource during a period of growth, but it’s often a good idea to mix the two. By handing over the reins of business tasks that you are not qualified to complete, you will be able to save time and money – and reduce the risk of hiring a new member of the team before you can decide whether or not it is sustainable to do so.
- Your expansion may fail
Rapid growth is not always sustainable, so consider this before executing an expansion strategy. From leadership to cash flow, you need to be prepared for every eventuality – and take unexpected costs into account before you make any decisions.
- Your change program may not succeed
If you are implementing a change program as part of your scaling, you need to be prepared for it to fail. 70% of business transformation programs don’t succeed, so be open, adaptable and prepare for every eventuality – this could mean having a transparent meeting with every core member of your team to decide how to move the business forward in the best possible manner.
- Automation will help you succeed
While you may be familiar with carrying out every odd job on your own, scaling means that you will have less time to focus on each individual task. Automating parts of your business is essential in order to achieve significant growth. Invest in cloud storage, training processes, marketing automation techniques and set up a payroll to address some of the pain points of your organisation. The chances are that, despite the initial investment, automating processes will save you significant time and money in the future as you continue to expand your business.
Scaling your business can be challenging, but the better prepared you are, the more chances you have of success. Remember to follow your business plan to the letter, take on board feedback from your existing clients and members of staff, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from industry insiders if you are struggling with moving your organisation forward.