Every business that started operation at one point or the other has a goal of getting big and achieving so much.
Even though every business will at a point experience one or two challenges that greatly threaten its existence, expanding the business will always be something every entrepreneur looks up to achieving.
As a business owner, arriving at a point of expansion in your business doesn’t come on a platter.
Certain things must be put in place so that the much-expected growth is achieved and eventually sustained. You need the right steps and principles to apply in taking your business to the next level.
What Does Scaling A Business Mean?
The success of every business comes in two forms; it comes either by growing or scaling. Over time, these two terms have been misunderstood by each other.
Scaling a business as against growing a business, is achieving an increase in revenue or profit while using less of resources. Growing a business on the other hand involves the use of more resources and manpower (employees) to generate profit.
It’s been observed that scaling a business is much more profitable and sustainable in achieving success than growing a business.
Though both growing and scaling are advantages to a business in the long run, scaling a business helps you achieve business success without having to pump so much resources (both financial and employees) into the business.
While it is true that both growing and scaling yield profit, it is important to note that scaling a business attracts more profit than growing a business.
Scaling would rather be a better option, especially for businesses that are still at the borderline stage between startup and big business brands.
Businesses at this level or stage would be wise enough to avoid taking loans or credits in a bid to invest their way to growth. While this move may be potentially good for business growth, it could also be the biggest unworthy risk the business owner would be making.
It is therefore more profitable and cheaper to engage the scaling process in achieving business success.
What Is The Best Time To Scale A Business?
It could be quite tricky to put a definition to the time perfect for scaling your business. Scaling a business is to the end that it expands. While this is true, scaling at an early stage could spell doom for the business if care is not taken.
This is because, at the early stage, the business is still gaining enough resources and growing its workforce. The workforce is definitely not formidable enough to withstand a surge in work and growth. The early stage of business is therefore definitely not the best time for scaling.
Moreover, business owners should be careful not to get too conscious of the demands and risks that come with scaling as this can lead to loss of focus and bearing for the business.
It is therefore very essential for business owners to be able to accurately read the signs that qualify their business for scaling. Here are a few tips that help.
1. Surge in sales
It’s about the right time for you to scale your business when you have witnessed a good surge in sales for a period of six months to a year without a significant input of resources.
2. Higher demands
When you begin to see a consistent drop in the supply of your products as against the demand for them, this may be a good time. Also, you must have gotten a sustainable market for your products.
3. Consistency in achieving set targets and goals
If you have maintained a track record of meeting your goals and set targets over a period of three to six months, it’s a good indication that you’d be able to handle more.
4. Availability of the right technology
Scaling would be a lot easier upon the introduction of technology and automated tools to take care of processes that would become difficult to handle when done manually.
5. Viable business ideas
It’s most likely the right time to expand your business when you have been able to conceptualize a great business idea that will give you an edge over the competition. This idea must have been declared viable by professionals.
How To Scale Your Business In 8 Proven Steps
1. Have A Clear Focus
Scaling your business starts with going back to the statement of purpose of your business. Why did you start off? What problem was your business meant to solve? How do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? All these questions need to be answered.
When you answer them, it helps you have a clearer focus on where you are going. The purpose of your business would definitely center on satisfying customers. This is because the success of your business hinges on satisfying your customers.
However, the ones working for and with you need to be in the best state or working condition in order to have the right momentum and motivation to do things the right way.
In other words, to satisfy your customers, it would be wise to start with satisfying your workers.
This is because taking care of your workers would motivate them to work in line with your goals and purposes.
You need them sane and in the right frame of mind with constant reminders of the goals of the business. A constant tracking and evaluation of how far you’ve gone would also go a long way.
2. Have A Solid Business Roadmap
It’s not enough to have the goals and purposes of the business written down, you need a solid business plan that would serve as a roadmap in getting to your destination. A business plan is a long-term blueprint that covers your business journey from the start to that envisioned height.
It contains the actions and steps you need to take to get your goals achieved. It also contains your target audience and why they fit as the target for your product.
Your business plan should essentially provide metrics with which you would measure your progress as you continue in expanding your business
Your business plan should be holistic enough to contain all the relevant information needed for you to scale your business. A business plan projects the future of the business, outlining all that needs to be done to arrive there.
The basic purpose of a business plan is to keep business owners and their employees on track and maintain their focus against any distractions that could come up. One good characteristic a good business plan should have is flexibility.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be rigid so it can accommodate necessary changes that come with technological advancement and various contingencies.
3. Fine-Tune Your Products And The Services Rendered
Business owners must learn to get reviews and feedback from customers on the products and services they render, as early as possible.
Doing this about a year into your startup will really help fix bugs and issues that may cause problems for growth. While preparing to scale up your business, it’s important to act on all reviews and feedback.
Doing that helps to effectively fine-tune your products and services. Reviews from customers are a reflection of what they actually want or how they expect your product and services to be rendered.
Acting on customers’ reviews ultimately helps you to work yourself up to achieving the primary goal of your business – the complete satisfaction of your customers.
Entrepreneurs or business owners must be conscious of the fact that the extent to which they satisfy their customers actually rubs off on their business growth.
Many have the wrong mentality of chasing business growth first while they improve on the delivery of their services and the quality of their products much later. This can be likened to chasing shadows and would most likely lead to serious problems.
4. Engage A Team of Professionals
The quality of your team is germane to the scaling of your business. Business owners should do away with the idea that they can do it all alone. When it comes to scaling a business, engaging your team of professionals is indispensable.
The team could comprise mainly your employees or may contain external professionals whose expertise is highly in demand.
Your team of professionals is the brain behind any scaling that would happen to your business. You’d need to get professional advice and recommendations from them on the best way to go about things.
While putting a strong team together internally, it’s okay to strengthen external relationships with manufacturers, suppliers, and partners.
One of such external professionals you can hire to be a part of your team is Globallyfulfill. Globallyfulfill is available to help you with professional and business consultations that you need to scale up your business.
They offer excellent customer services specific to your needs. They can be reached across all communication channels thereby providing you with a seamless way of access.
5. Embrace Automation And Technology
Scaling involves making use of little or no resources (both financial and employees) in realising more profit. If business owners do not hire more employees, then they must leverage technology. It’s been discovered that many processes can now be automated using software.
Getting the right software helps you take care of processes like customer relationship management, inventory system, payroll and accounting, and the scheduling of appointments. Technology is therefore essential to take care of the burden and demands that come with scaling.
6. Invest Into Marketing
For businesses looking to scale, you need a significant increase in sales. Marketing is an important aspect you need to pay attention to in order to achieve a good surge in sales.
You will need to do thorough market research in order to have a deep understanding of your target market, know their behaviors, what exactly they want, and be able to reach them.
A good marketing plan containing the product, pricing, packaging, and other important things would help get to your target market.
Growth in sales comes either by getting new customers or retaining the existing ones. Scaling would require retaining existing customers since it is much cheaper than getting new ones.
7. Improve Online Visibility
Scaling would be impossible when you’re far from or invisible to those who needs your product. A strong online visibility is essential to drive more sales. You can start by creating a website to at least give an online presence.
Creating online videos for your products and services can also help do the trick. Ensure that you make these videos on a consistent basis so as to continually build your presence online. When people share the videos, it gets you closer to your target audience.
Social media is important in registering your business in the minds of potential customers. It may sound nice to leverage on all social media platforms. However, it’s better to identify the ones specific to your target market and leverage more on that particular one.
For example, if your target market is young people (adolescents, undergraduates, young, and graduates), Twitter would be the best place to reach them.
8. Ensure Sustainability And Give Room For More Innovations
Don’t wait till you begin to feel your business has hit a plateau before you begin to scale again. Scaling should be continuous.
It therefore means you have to sustain good innovations and maintain a creative mindset at all times. Creativity and innovations are what drive steady scaling and growth in business. Creativity shouldn’t just be for solving problems but to drive growth.
Bear in mind that massive growth is good but sustainable growth is the best for any business. You can’t afford to do things anyhow. Even when you’ve begun scaling your business, it’s important to stick with the decisions that align with your ultimate goals.
Getting your company ready and prepared to take on any challenge is also paramount for sustainability. Periodically point out the limitations that pose against business growth and tackle them headlong.
Every entrepreneur desires business expansion either by scaling or growing. Knowing the right time to start scaling your company, the important things to put in place, and intentionally following them through will greatly help small companies and businesses to get bigger.