When your company is growing in spite of itself and you’re meeting increased customer demand while still being profitable, it may be time to start scaling your business. Keep these fundamental tips in mind to ensure a smooth process:
1. Lay the foundation
Before you can scale your business, you’ll need to update your business plan with any changes that need to be made to your current budget, marketing strategy, insurance needs and process in order to ensure a smooth transition. If you want to relocate your business to a bigger building, for example, add a forecast for the cost of the expansion with estimates for leasing a new building space with higher utility bills, paying out an existing lease, and, of course, the big move. By the same token, if your goal is to double your revenue next year, you might need to hire more staff and increase your marketing efforts to make it happen.
Once you’ve outlined the details of your company’s expansion, start tackling those to-dos in a thoughtful way and at a reasonable pace. Just because you’ve added 15 new employees to your team doesn’t mean you have to rush to rent a bigger facility. Take some time to test the waters and see if they can manage in your current, smaller facility until you have the capital to support a bigger space.
2. Get employees to stick with you
You don’t have to pay 100 percent of employees’ health insurance premiums or offer them unlimited sick days to make your team feel valued. But if you want them to stick with and passionately support your growing company, you need to invest in them. Keep in mind, perks such as free food and flexible hours aren’t the be-all and end-all. Talk to your employees or use surveys to give them a voice and find out what they need to stay happy.
3. Keep your promise
As your business grows, it’s so tempting to cut costs, so you have extra cash for the expansion and renovations. But it pays to be strategic about your growth. An upscale restaurant, for example, should never sacrifice the quality of its meat in order to save for fancy, luxury table linens. Customers expect and deserve consistent and outstanding products and services from your company. When quality drops, you’d better believe that they’ll notice and have no qualms about going to the business down the street. Remember your roots and stick to your company’s vision and values as you scale.
4. Know when to ask for help
In the early days, you handled the hiring, marketing and bookkeeping. But chances are you won’t be able to take on all of the tasks that come with growing your business. Social media, for example, can zap your time. Still, with more than a quarter of the planet on Facebook, you can’t afford to ignore it. Outsourcing this important task will free you up to focus on growing your business.
5. Use experience as your road map
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to take your business to the next level. Aside from the lessons you’ve learned on your business journey, there’s a world of experience to help you get where you want to go. Seek out people who have already scaled up, including your mentor and competitors, and talk with them about their experiences.
Stories like this one from Entrepreneur can also provide insight into what works and what doesn’t, so you can scale up seamlessly: Between its award-winning popsicles and skyrocketing interest from consumers, Wise Acre Frozen Treats was off to a promising start. But owner Jim Picariello tried to scale up too soon, and by the end of the year, the company had gone bankrupt. Lesson learned? Don’t add to your staff or equipment before you have the revenue or capital to back those investments.
Scaling up may seem like the natural next step for your business, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. By following these fundamental tips, you’ll lay the groundwork to scale up and survive.