Are you ready to scale your business? Whether you have just started out or you’re already running a small business, scalability should be top of mind.
When you’re ready to scale your business it “is about adding revenue at an exponential rate while only adding resources at an incremental rate.”
Too many business owners stunt their own growth because they are not ready to deal with increasing clients or orders. Here are seven ways to ensure your business is scalable.
1. Consider long-term hiring goals
It’s all too common to see startups and small businesses hire people based solely on their immediate needs. It’s even worse when family and friends are recruited into positions simply because it is convenient and they are available.
A scalable business needs expertise and experience in key positions so the business can grow quickly with recruitment. When you hire employees, don’t just look at what they can offer you today, but what they can contribute two years down the line. The last thing you need is for the company to outgrow a team member and leave them as a drain on the business rather than an asset.
2. Learn to love change
At the heart of scalability is the need for change. Unfortunately many businesses make the mistake of prioritizing convenience and comfort over the potential for growth. This could be anything from not updating computer to systems, to staying in a small office long after you have outgrown it.
If you try to resist change or hang on to the past it will inevitably lead to missing key opportunities to expand.
3. Outsource tasks outside of your core expertise
Many small, specialized businesses run into problems when they start to ask their staff to things outside of their skill set. This often rears its head is in customer service and call answering.
As you look to scale your business, you may want to expand the role of current employees to cut costs and ramp up quickly. Your employees may be very good at what they do, but if they are having to field calls from clients and customers it will keep them from their actual job.
If you want people answering the phone who have the time and the desire to deal with customers, sometimes it can be best to outsource those skills to a call answering service. This is often cheaper than hiring full-time sales and customer service staff, and it also enables your business to grow quickly.
4. Create business systems and protocols
This might sound a little corporate, but if you plan to scale your business, you need to have systems and protocols in place. That means you need to have standardized working practices so that if someone was to leave a role, another employee could easily be recruited and be able to follow the same protocols and procedures.
If you only have a small team it may seem like a waste of time to create workflow documents explaining how each member of your team carries out their role, but if you land a new client and need to increase operational staff quickly, these sorts of protocols can be the best way to do it.
5. Build business relationships
Small businesses can benefit enormously from building relationships with other companies. Ultimately, to scale your business quickly you need to have access to relevant skills and services that you might not have in-house. Utilize the skills of your business partners to make scaling your business easier.
6. Make sure your business does not rely on a single person
Many businesses start as the project of one individual or a small team. There is nothing wrong with that, but as they then develop into a fully-functioning business it can mean that one person in the team is entirely responsible for certain parts of the business.
The problem is that if the business relies on the skills of one person, it’s not possible to scale it properly.
7. Make your small business seem larger
When you’re ready to scale your business one common problem you’ll encounter is marketplace competition with much larger companies. This can lead to a situation where competitors automatically get preference from potential clients because they are larger and more established.
So that means you need to make sure your business can appear competitive with them. There are many ways that you can make a small business feel larger.
We’ve already talked about the benefits of outsourcing your customer service staff, but this has the dual purpose of making your team seem larger. You can also use techniques such as securing reputable business mailing addresses – where you can have a postal address in a prestigious location.
This article has been edited.
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