If you currently run your own business, but you’re ready to take things to the next level and scale up – this post is for you.
But it’s not as simple as increasing what you do every day as a business. What’s working for you right now, probably won’t continue to work as your business grows.
This is why you need to create a thorough plan, set goals, and start taking action to scale your business.
Will it be easy? In the words of Will Smith: hell no.
Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
Here’s everything you need to consider when it comes to scaling your business for long-term growth and success.
Are you ready to scale?
Many businesses make the mistake of trying to scale before they’ve got a solid foundation in place.
So first things first, you need to make sure your core product or service is market ready and has a viable customer base. You need to know who your core target customer is.
You also need to know which marketing channels have the best ROI for you and your offering and that there’s potential to scale those. You can do this by testing various avenues using a smaller budget first.
And you need to ensure you’ve got the money to scale. You’ll create a huge headache for yourself if you run out while scaling, so make sure you’ve got more than you think you’ll need to cover you during this period of growth.
This brings us nicely onto our next point.
Know your financing options
Being strapped for cash can be a big hurdle that holds many businesses back from growing at the speed they want to, but it’s vital you think carefully about who to get that cash from.
Many businesses immediately think of seeking investment, but this can often be the most expensive form of cash out there. You’ll have to give up equity in your business (and control), and you’ll be under high pressure to deliver a return to your investor.
So what other options are there for small businesses looking to scale?
Here are just a few creative ways to raise cash before you seek investment:
- Kickstarter and crowdfunding
- Creating a new revenue stream (e.g. a monthly subscription service)
- Joint ventures
- Selling your invoices
- Bank loans
Setting up any business properly should take a long time – if you’ve done it right.
And it’s worth every second because those structures and automations that you’ve taken time to set up and implement will make your life so much easier in the long run, and help you to scale your business when the time is right.
Things like cloud storage, marketing automation, payroll, and training processes for new staff will require some time at the start, but these will help you to streamline all your operations as a business and have a much smoother scaling period.
Make sure you’ve got these automations in place before trying to scale.
Focus on what you do best
When you’re a startup business, you can’t afford to have an army of full-time employees who are able to fully cover every single task that might need doing.
But the great news is, you don’t need an army. You just need to focus on doing what you do best and outsource any non-essential tasks to people who will do a much better job of it, and save you a tonne of time in the process.
Whether it’s designers, lawyers, or developers – if the role isn’t necessary to your business, then you don’t need to be doing it in-house.
You need to concentrate your time as a business owner doing the key activities that are going to help move your business forward and prevent you from stagnating.
Build a public profile
If you are the founder or leader of your business, people need to know about it. They need to know about you – who you are, what your story is, and what you stand for.
In today’s business world, a public profile holds a lot of weight. It’s no longer a case of living in a B2B or a B2C culture – we’ve surpassed that and are living in a P2P (people to people) era.
As Simon Sinek says, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And this is why people will want to know who you are.
So don’t be afraid to invite people in.
Know your end goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t be able to get yourself there.
Think of your business as a ship. If you’ve got a map with the coordinates of the destination you need to reach, you’re likely to get there. But if you’ve got no map and you don’t know where the destination is, you’ll just end up circling around aimlessly, without making much progress.
Throwing money at your business without knowing what you ultimately want to achieve will be a huge waste.
So figure out what your end game is. How much money do you want to be turning over per year? What’s the ultimate goal for your business?
The answers to these questions will help you to figure out the steps you need to take to get there.
Never compromise on quality or consistency
While growing your customer base might be your focus, it’s important you take care of your existing customers, and continue to wow and amaze them with your offerings.
Word of mouth is so valuable, so if you deliver a quality buying experience from start to finish, that customer is likely to share it with their friends and family, which will help to gradually increase numbers.
Don’t allow the quality of your products or service to go downhill when scaling up, because those customers you’ve worked so hard for will end up going elsewhere.
Utilise social media
If you’re running a business in 2018 and you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on a huge potential amount of sales. Facebook has more than 2 billion active users, while other platforms including Instagram and YouTube allow businesses to connect with huge numbers of people with ease.
Like all things, it takes time to build a loyal and engaged following, but it’s a great place to bring value to customers and potential new customers while getting more eyeballs on your business and products.
Hire the right people
As we mentioned above, don’t waste money hiring someone who isn’t necessary for your business. That being said, hiring the right people will help you to scale your business.
So, how do you know what to look for?
Essentially, they need to be able to do something a machine can’t, they need to have a lot of good ideas, and they need to have a multiple skills that can be used to complete various tasks.
This is vital in the early stages of business where one person might be doing the job of two to four people.
Are you ready to scale your business?
In addition to all of the above, it’s important that you’ve got a positive and focused mindset for scaling your business. Without that, you won’t be able to grow.
So ask yourself if you’re ready to be in control of a much bigger operation? Are you ready to start thinking at a much higher level?
If you’re in the process of scaling your business, or you’ve recently gone through a growth period, we’d love to hear what worked for you, and what didn’t.
Let us know below!