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Scale Your Business The Smart Way

– Contributed content –

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(Anthony Shkraba, Pexels)

4 May 2022. Scaling seems like it’s a buzzword, but it is something that small businesses have done forever. Getting your business ready for growth is what scaling is all about, but if you don’t take the step to set up the right framework – growth can feel jagged, and not only that, it can cause some areas of your business to fold in on itself.

What is business scaling?

In the early days of your business plan, you are encouraged to consider the business growth – and how you envision the business to be in 5,10 and 15 years from now.

That is a great thing to do because it forces you to consider all of the different ways your business might change, what might impact it, and your biggest goals.

But ahead of that growth comes one of the most important things, and that is scaling. When you scale your business, you are setting up a framework (people, tools, finances) to support your business through the growth period.

It is the technology, partners, staffing, outsourcing and funding that will mean you and grow well and without any pitfalls.

One of the biggest issues that businesses usually run into when they are in the growth phase is a lack of the right people and a lack of funds.

So how can you scale your business in the best way?

Keep in mind that scaling isn’t typically a fast process, and it needs to be tested as you add new supporting features.

Outsourcing and staffing

The people you have around you can make a huge impact on how you can move forward. For any permanent staff, you need to make sure that they are aligned with the vision of the business and come with plenty of their own ideas. It is much easier to achieve your business goals when all of the team is supporting and moving towards the same goal.

Teams like this take a lot of work to get right, but when they work, they are a force to be reckoned with.

If full-time staff isn’t something that you can currently afford, then outsourcing is possible too.

Strategic outsourcing will mean that you only spend a very select amount and have full control over how many hours and which part of your business they will contribute.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Recruiting full-time or part-time staff is an expensive process, and the process you use for it needs to be scalable.
  • Will you be looking for extra management help? What qualifications will you require, and what types of personalities will work best with you?
  • Customer service is an area that needs to have special attention; one of the most popular choices is web live chat software to give you an edge.

A big part of scaling is making agile choices, and often they can be difficult too. Sometimes it is more beneficial to have a range of outsourced people and freelancers on short contracts while you work on the rest.

Technology

Choosing the right technology is the lifeblood of scaling. There are many different SaaS options that can improve and streamline your processes, often saving money and manpower hours.

A wise investment in technology will mean you need less labour for a bigger outcome.

Here are a couple of things you should think about when it comes to technology and how it impacts scaling.

  • Marketing automation – freeing up plenty of time by taking a few hours to set up each campaign; you can then run it and check in on the analytics.
  • CRM – manage your customers in the most efficient manner, and implement a robust CRM options
  • Onboarding new staff – with the right technology, you can onboard staff quickly and efficiently, giving them everything they need to succeed.
  • Internal communications – even before having a team of staff, you will need to have a framework for communications in place. Slack, Team and Google Hangouts are most often used, but there are platforms that streamline customers and internal communications.

Only invest money in technology that meets your needs. It is very tempting to go for bigger packages straight away; instead, look for technology that has the option to scale as you grow. So that you can add more seats, reduce seats, add more features and so on. Talk to the customer services of any SaaS to find out more about their scalability.

Funding

Business growth costs money, and sometimes it costs a lot more than you might think. You’ll be funnelling money into bigger marketing campaigns, recruitment, staff training, payroll, product, suppliers, manufacturers and more.

Of course, it depends on what type of business you run because you might not need all of these things to see some growth.

Ahead of the growth period is a great time to start securing funding. Bootstrapping and remaining agile are always of benefit, but a downside is that usually, bootstrapped businesses take longer to grow.

Search for business grants that make sense for your type of business, and look for what makes you unique. Female owned businesses, businesses that make an environmental impact, and other USPs can work in your favor when it comes to funding. There are also many different contests that you can enter.

When it comes to financing your business, spend some time putting a pitch pack together that tells people what you do, why you do it, how you do it and why you are a safe bet for their investment cash.

In preparation for pitching for funding, here are a few things you need to work on:

  • Understand what you can offer the investors.
  • Can you pitch your business in 60 seconds or less? Aim for one sentence.
  • Study each type of investor you will be pitching – what do they usually invest in.
  • What is the story that makes you interesting and different?
  • What is the problem that you solve?
  • Pack the essential details in
  • Outline clearly how much you need and where it will go – break down the percentages, and show the maths behind the work.
  • Drill down on the marketing
  • How competitive is the landscape really?
  • Be honest with the risks, including your own skill deficit.
  • How do you make money? What is the revenue model?

If you have demo products, software or others, it is always a good idea to bring that in to show them. This gives them a direct experience with your products.

Business values

Ahead of any scaling action, it is important that you really drill down on what your company values are. As you grow, there will be opportunities that appear that might not align with how you saw the company going. But with thousands on the table – will they hold fast?

Your business values shouldn’t be impacted by the growth of your company.

Here are how you can safeguard your company values through scaling and growth:

  • Keep them clear – the more precise you are about what the culture is, the easier it is to protect
  • All onboarding should have the values built-in
  • No matter how big your company gets, you, as the owner or leader, need to give an example.
  • Revisit the values often. Are you doing right by your employees and customers? Are you holding to how you see the company?
  • Use feedback and communication as the biggest tool to protect your values and keep everyone on track
  • People before profits isn’t just something nice to say; it is a great way to run your company – so long as you still do it no matter how much money is on the table.

Barriers

Setting goals and creating a framework to enable your growth is great, but if you don’t take the time to highlight what the barriers are, then you might be in for a surprise.

Barriers come in many forms, and while you might like to think that you aren’t one – until your leadership is put to the test, you might’ve assumed you were a natural leader. Only to find that you struggle with it.

An unsteady cash flow can also be one of the issues.

When you are highlighting barriers, it is essential that you take the time to go through a range of different solutions. Once you identify what might halt your progress or cause issues, you can be prepared to smash through them – or navigate them with a carefully outlined strategy.

Keep in mind that while some barriers may present themselves early to you, and you can then prevent much of the impact, there are also many that will arise at speed, and usually, these are financial.

Consider this – if you check in your finances only once a month, that is only 12 times a year. Suppose you check daily; that is 365. When you check something 365 times, you are more likely to spot issues coming up long before they happen.

Having good financial habits will help to solve or avoid most issues that a small business might run into, and here are some ways that you can stay on top of it: Managing Small Business Finances « Science and Enterprise.

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