How to nail the scaling process

| July 6, 2018

As I know from my latest venture Bookwell, resilience is crucial to being a successful entrepreneur, because let’s face it, building a business can be a long and challenging road. The motivation it takes to grow can come at a price. It’s no surprise a recent study found that small business owners often sacrifice their personal wellbeing in order to achieve success.

With this in mind, it’s vital to recognise when you can no longer go it alone and start the process of scaling your business. So, how do you grow your company in a sustainable way?

Build a team you trust

Startups are powered by staff who are flexible, and happy to muck in. When starting out, employees are likely to have little job specification and varied responsibilities. Once your business begins to grow, roles will need to be more clearly defined, so that staff know exactly what they are responsible for.

Building a passionate, hard-working team is one of the most significant challenges you’re likely to face, and it’s hands down the most important thing you will ever do. Recruiting talented people may not be something you have done before, so be clear on what you’re looking for from the outset.

Write job descriptions outlining the key skills needed to fulfil the role, but bear in mind, the deciding factor may come down to personality. Think about the culture you’re trying to create and look for people who’ll help bring this to life. Culture can make or break a business.

Empower your people

Once you have the team in place, start thinking about how you will train, nurture and motivate them – even if that means outsourcing to experts in this field. It can be tempting to hand-hold, but at the end of the day, empowering staff to make their own decisions and giving them some creative license will not only ease your workload but also foster a positive working culture.

A hands-off approach allows employees the freedom to find their own solutions. Be there to help them learn, but encourage them to incrementally take on more responsibility. The more independent they are, the more they can drive the day-to-day business, leaving you to work on the bigger picture.

Structure a scalable management model

As your company grows, so too will your team. A clear business structure is vital so that everyone remains on the same page. Allocate tasks according to your staff’s strengths and encourage collaboration. Let go where you can, but maintain a bird’s eye view of activity. Constructing a chart can be helpful to identify reporting lines, and the duties specific to each role.

As your business grows it’s likely you’ll recruit specialists to help drive various divisions – such as sales and marketing. Take the opportunity to hand over the reins, so you can remain focussed on the future of the business. With certain aspects covered off, you can spend more time growing your clientele and expanding your offering.

Be agile

These days it’s not enough to provide a good product. With an abundance of startups in the market, companies have to be agile to remain competitive in an ever changing and volatile landscape.

Frequently reassess your strategy based on short term outcomes, and don’t be afraid to change plans if something isn’t working. The ability to pivot quickly is in part what sets startups apart from corporate business, so use it to your advantage.

Don’t ignore the financials

It can be exciting when revenue begins to grow, but be sure not to spread yourself too thinly too quickly. Afterall, you still want to be able to cover day-to-day costs. If reports indicate that you are spending more than your business is making, determine what the problem is and fix it.

The real cause might not be immediately obvious. Drill down below the surface in order to discover the underlying issue. It might be quite far removed from the initial problem that presented.

Take risks

A risk could be enough to propel your business forward, but calculation is the key. Seek advice where you need it, trust your instincts and recognise when you’re ready to take that leap of faith.

Of course, with any opportunity comes a certain element of risk, however, this can be mitigated by laying your foundations. So do your research, prepare your team and have an exit strategy in case it doesn’t go your way, but don’t be afraid to rise to the occasion.