Unfortunately, coming up with an excellent business concept is no guarantee for success. To compliment your business idea you’ll need business acumen and the ability to think ahead.
From the outset of a startup you ought to build for the future and take steps that will prepare you for the process of scaling (i.e., growing your company). It’s a principle I stuck to in my first company Pure360 and it’s one I’ve kept to in my current venture, Crunch.
Constructing the foundations for sustained scaling is one of the many demands of my role as a founder. Drawing upon experiences gathered at both startups here are four lessons I’ve learned about building a business that can scale:
Firstly, know your mission.
Business gurus constantly emphasise the importance of setting goals, missions and objectives. The advice can sometimes sound a little trite. However, where scaling is concerned it’s integral, and it’s something you ought to do from day one of your startup. If you establish a grand vision, backed by broad goals and SMART objectives you’ll naturally build a business that can scale effectively. You will need to form a clear picture of where you’re going to form a clearer picture of how you’ll get there.
Invest in excellence.
To create a business that will flourish and cope with the demands of scaling, you’ll need to equip your startup with individuals carrying ambition and expertise. Now, you’ll likely struggle to bring in tech veterans at the very beginning, so be willing to invest in people and personalities with potential. Only you will know who these people are, and be prepared to take your time finding and developing them. Expansion can be a precarious process and it is imperative to hire the right people.
Bring in operational and HR expertise.
Putting expertise in place in both of these areas will take worry out of your hands. You will need an HR specialist managing the needs of your workforce and an operations manager overseeing the scaling process. Whilst initially you may be risk adverse to putting this responsibility elsewhere, it’ll give you more time and energy to pour into building your business. Still, for decisions like significant hires and big operational changes you will need to be involved. Be willing to delegate responsibility, or you’ll risk damaging your startup and yourself.
Embrace the cloud.
If you haven’t already, implement cloud software throughout your operations as it can cope with scaling more readily by cutting potential costs. You needn’t invest in internal servers and the like with the cloud at your disposal. Cloud-based software services offer systems and pricing packages that can be kinder on the scaling process. For example, at Crunch we use it throughout the company and we will stick to this philosophy as we grow further. Cloud-based software is an excellent solution to some of the old troubles of scaling up.
Darren Fell is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Crunch Accounting, a UK based online accountancy firm. Prior to this he successfully set up and sold Pure 360. As a serial entrepreneur, he’s passionate about small businesses and helping young entrepreneurs create great concepts.
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