Entrepreneurs work long hours and dedicate their lives to get their businesses on the right time. When success happens, it is certainly cause for celebration, but also brings new challenges! How do you know when it is time to scale your business? After all, if the business starts to scale without truly understanding who the customer is or whether the demand is sustainable, the growth can derail quickly.
The Right Time to Scale Your Business
While there isn’t a magic formula that can tell you exactly the right time is to scale up your business, there are many things you should have figured out before you decide to take that step. Below are a few questions that should be in the back of your mind. If you have these questions figured out, you should be in a good place to expand.
“Do You Have Enough Demand?”
Just because business may be booming now, doesn’t mean it will be sustainable moving forward. One of the biggest challenges businesses face when scaling up is being able to attract enough customers and clients to support their growth.
Before you scale, you need to understand your market trends and forecasts. Put together various scenarios of what could happen to your demand once you expand, and layout how you would respond to each situation. Put a lot of thought and analysis into this. Don’t just base your direction off of emotions or assumptions.
“Are Your Finances in Order?”
Cost is another major concern for companies who are planning to scale. Uncertainty comes with change, and to help ease your anxiety around changes within your business, it’s recommended that you have a financial plan in place to accommodate the immediate “what ifs” that may occur. Put together some projections and simply see if your business can pay for business essentials moving forward.
“Do You Have the Right Technology?
Technology and connectivity both play key roles in the growth of businesses. Your business needs to have the right tools in place to ensure all systems are running efficiently and effectively. Businesses these days need solutions that range anywhere from internet and storage solutions, to voice over IP and cloud-based applications. The technological requirements of a business vary greatly based on size, goals, and structure of a company. You’ll need to have a clear vision of what your business needs before scaling it forward, both in terms of functionality and cost.
According to a study by Cox Business and Forbes Insights, the largest technology challenge faced by businesses in the process of scaling is understanding changing technology needs and what products and services will meet those needs. The fear that “you don’t know what you don’t know” can be incredibly daunting when it comes to figuring out the right technology for your business.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider hiring an internal IT employee that can help put the technological processes in place. If you aren’t quite ready to hire internally for that position, a managed service provider can be a very useful partner to lead you in the right direction.
“Do You Know Your Customers Expectations?”
When considering an expansion, it is imperative that you keep your customers and their expectations top of mind. Your business should revolve around their wants and needs, not your wants and needs. Spend less time worrying about day-to-day logistics and more time on connecting and innovating with your customers. After all, your business wouldn’t exist without them!
“Do You Have the Right Processes in Place?”
Companies are taking shape in many different forms, from standard brick and mortar establishments, to completely distributed workforces. It is essential that no matter how you plan on scaling your business, you have documented systems in place to accommodate your company’s structure. Types of questions around processes to consider include:
Do you have a training process in place for new employees?
If you’re a remote company, how do you track employee productivity?
Are company goals documented for people to refer to?
Will you be using cloud-based solutions for collaboration and file sharing?
Lastly, do you actually have a documented plan to scale your business? If not, it’s essential that you put one in place before you begin.
“Do You Have the Right Team in Place?”
One in ten companies is concerned with finding employees and how the change would affect them, as well as how the change would impact customers. Rarely can businesses scale up without hiring talent in some capacity. You’ll need to let go of some of your control and hire appropriate people to support you as your business grows.
Achieving Ideal Growth
The Cox Business and Forbes Insights report found that customer expectations and technology have the biggest impact on growth, and small business owners who get them right will come out on top.
There are no shortcuts to scaling up. Once you have a strategy to scale, you’ll be in a good position to take the first step.
Remember, every major company was a startup at some point. These are exciting times for businesses, and having the confidence to scale up is essential when you’re ready to take that step. By following the tips mentioned above, you’ll be ready to scale your business successfully and will set yourself up for the growth you’ve been looking for.
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