How to scale a small business

Every startup and small business dreams of meteoric growth. But without a little planning, business owners can get stuck in their focus on day-to-day tasks and to-dos and may not take the time to get some fresh air to work on their business growth strategy.

If you dream of growing your business, get a plan to grow it in a smart and sustainable way over time.

What makes a business scalable?

Growing a business means growing it slowly and steadily so that it can support that growth over time. A business is scalable if it can handle an increase in customer demand without sharply increasing its expenses to meet that demand.

Growing a tech business is easier than scaling other types of businesses. For example, a software as a service (SaaS) brand could easily handle a significant increase in customer base just by adding more servers to their system. On the other hand, a business that trades time for money, such as a consulting firm, is a business that may be more difficult to scale because, in this example, a consultant can only work with one. client at a time, so it is limited in how many clients it can serve.

When should you grow a business?

A well-established business with a constant cash flow is one that can reach greater heights.

On the other hand, a business with volatile income or too much debt is a business that may not be secure enough to successfully initiate a scale-up strategy. And a new business may focus on establishing roots and may not be ready to grow.

Entrepreneurs who plan to grow should carefully consider whether their business is truly fit for growth, as it will take time, money, and effort to get there.

7 ways to grow your business

Now let’s take a look at some of the ways you can scale your business.

Develop your business model

You have made a name for yourself by offering certain products or services. It’s time to consider offering new products to better meet your customers’ expectations.

Consider any related services or products that your customers might want. For example, if you sell home decor in your retail store, you can start offering live plants. If you are a business coach who works one-on-one with clients, you can start offering group coaching programs.

Invest in partnerships

There’s no reason you have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to scaling. Consider the potential partners you could work with to gain more clients. With your home decor store, you might partner with an interior designer who offers interior decorating classes in your store. They can promote the event to their contact list, exposing your brand to a wider audience.

Hire employees

Scaling is happening on all sides: as the number of your customers increases, you will need new employees to serve them. Look to hire team members with skills that complement your own so that you have experts in everything from customer service to marketing.

Automate processes

One of the overlooked aspects of scaling a business is simply improving operations, workflows, and internal processes. If you take advantage of automation to manage, say, your email marketing, you save time and can spend it in other areas of your business.

Business growth depends on having strong processes in place, especially if you hire more people. Document every task in your business so that new hires can easily ramp up and get to work. You will make training easier and save time.

Consistently market your business

To regularly attract more customers, you will need to take advantage of marketing tools like social media, content marketing, podcasts, advertising, etc. The better you establish your brand as a leader in your industry, the easier it will be to attract new customers.

As you market, keep an eye on the results. Which marketing avenues drive the most traffic to your website and sales? These are the ones you want to invest more in. For all the channels that don’t do the job, cut the ties and reinvest your marketing dollars in what works.

Expand the reach of your brand online

Your scalability depends on the number of people who can buy your products. Your website is probably where you sell your products, but you’re not limited to it. Consider becoming a seller on Amazon or Etsy (depending on your audience) so you can reach more people with your products.

Get the funds you need to grow

Growing your business requires capital. You may not have the cash on hand to cover the expenses you will have, like investing in software, equipment, or salaries, and this is where small business loans come in. Yes, you will get into debt, but if all goes well, the income growth will more than cover the loan and interest.

In terms of financing, you have several options, including Credit lines, cash advances to businesses, and invoice financing.

You do not want to take out a loan? Look at business credit cards to help you shop for your business, or crowdfunding if you want to build excitement around a new product and don’t want to have to pay off a loan. Startups can also consider venture capital and bring in experienced investors with the right contacts to help them scale.

Mistakes to Avoid When Scaling

Growing businesses often make mistakes when scaling. Be aware of these so you can avoid them.

Scaling too fast

Rapid growth may sound like a good thing, but if your business isn’t prepared, you could end up branding damage. Consider the small business that made an appearance on Shark Tank or the Oprah Program and found that their web servers couldn’t handle the tens of thousands of views their websites were having as a result. Or companies that couldn’t keep track of orders because they didn’t have enough inventory on hand.

Your scale-up strategy should consider what you will need to cope with the growth. You may need to hire more employees, order more inventory, or upgrade your technology.

Have too many sources of income

While yes, having potentially new sources of income can increase sales, but they can also wreak havoc if you stray too far from your brand’s core offerings. You can’t be everything to everyone, nor can you sell everything. It’s better to take ownership of your niche and grow gradually and strategically from there rather than gathering too many revenue streams without really understanding what your audience needs.

Do not update your business plan

You might not have seen your business plan since you first wrote it all those years ago, but scaling is the perfect opportunity to come back to it and put it into action. updated to reflect the new direction your business is taking. Writing down your goals and how you’ll achieve them puts you in the right space to understand what scaling really looks like.

Not paying attention to the change in corporate culture

Small business owners sometimes overlook the impact of scale on corporate culture. If you started your business with just three employees and grew to 50, it changes the way your employees perceive their work and your business.

Your leadership skills may need to adapt as your business grows. You may need to hire managers to supervise employees while you focus on the big picture. Consider working with mentors who can walk you through this process.

Evolve towards success

As your business grows, so do the possibilities for the future. Rather than aiming for overnight success, plan for sustainable growth by carefully planning your scale-up strategy, finding the right funding, and updating your plan as it evolves.

This article was originally written on January 7, 2022.

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