Scaling a small business can be tricky. It can also involve a significant amount of risk. After all, you’re considering shaking up your fledgling business in an attempt to take it to the next level. However, if done correctly, the rewards are well worth the risk.
If you’re considering scaling your small business, especially as quickly as possible, you want to go about it the right way. Here are a few essential steps that you should take into consideration before you start.
1. Identify the Need
Scaling a business is a normal activity. Doing so quickly, though, can add significant stress and strain to your operation. That’s why the first thing that you want to do is slow down and consider if scaling at a rapid pace is the best decision for your business at this moment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if now is the time for quick growth:
- Do you have a brand new startup or is your small business fully launched and well-established?
- Do you have consistent business processes in place?
- Are those processes and your other business tools scalable, or do they need to be upgraded or even replaced as you grow?
- Do you have a solid team of employees that have bought into your vision?
- Do you have funding and/or revenue that you can count on as you scale your operation?
It’s important to ask these questions before investing in growth. If you find that now isn’t the time to grow in an aggressive manner, you can avoid wasting resources or, even worse, setting your new business back.
2. Start With Your Brand
If you find that you are in a prime position to grow, the first place you should start is with your brand. Your company’s brand should be a consistent and clear reflection of your vision, mission, and goals. As Bob Goldwater, partner at Goldwater Law Firm, concisely puts it, the concept of branding boils down to “clearly communicating what we are all about and then standing behind those statements.”
Goldwater goes on to connect branding to things like authenticity and focus. A clear brand helps you avoid drifting from your objectives (more on that further down). It can also differentiate you and help you stand out from the competition.
If you want to scale your company, start by ensuring that your brand is developed, fleshed out, and on point. This gives your organization a clear identity as it begins to grow and change.
3. Create a Plan and Set Goals
Branding is an important high-level aspect of successful growth. However, when the rubber hits the road, you’re also going to want to have a clear plan in place. This helps you stay on track and remain efficient as your organization gains momentum.
A growth strategy can consist of many different things. Your sales team, HR department, marketing reps, back office, and many other areas of your company will need clear direction as you grow together. Creating a comprehensive growth strategy is a critical part of successfully growing your enterprise. This should include things such as:
- Identifying and building on your existing strengths;
- Conducting market research to define your ideal customer and find new market segments worth pursuing;
- Studying your competition to see how they’ve managed their growth;
- Securing existing revenue streams and finding areas where you can gain new income.
Along with these, you also want to set the metrics that will define success. Find key indicators that allow you to measure the success or failure of your growth efforts. This could be sales growth, new SKUs, or any number of other activities. However you choose to set your goals, always remember that the most efficient growth is measurable growth.
4. Review Your Internal Systems
Scaling always puts pressure on how your business runs. A tool or method that works well now may not work well in a larger organization. With that in mind, always consider how you can prep your internal activity for the demands of a scaling operation, such as:
- Outsourcing activity: Find the areas of your business, such as distribution or marketing, that you can outsource as the demands of your company grow.
- Investing in tech: There are countless pieces of tech that can make scaling easier, such as finding an automated small business payroll solution to help your accounting team.
- Hiring the right people: Creating a recruitment strategy is key, as you want to invest in quality talent that also lines up with your vision and can support your growing business’s needs.
There are many ways that you can prep your company’s internal operations for a season of growth. Once you begin growing, you’ll be glad you put in the effort ahead of time.
There’s no end to the number of tips that you can find when it comes to scaling a small business. However, any growth strategy should always start with these four considerations.
Assess if now is the right time to grow. From there, review your brand’s readiness for growth. Then create a thorough growth strategy and set achievable goals. Finally, review your company’s internal systems and consider where you can use tech, outsourcing, and hiring to smooth the path to future growth. These four tips can help you start your next growth cycle in the best position possible.