5 Tips to Scale Your Small Business
Many business owners find the start-up process the most demanding aspect of achieving business success, but scaling the business can be just as challenging. The scaling up process can make or break a company. Scale too slowly and you’ll lose out on resources, opportunities, and revenue. Scale too quickly, however, and you’ll open up a Pandora’s Box of organizational problems that may lead to your business shining a brief yet glimmering light as it fades into oblivion like so many before it.
Nonetheless, growth and scaling are very nice problems to have. If you’re planning on opening up the floodgates with new products, territories, and customers, keep these five tips in mind to scale successfully and turn your small business into a formidable brand.
1. Offer a Universal Experience
A simplified business model makes scaling a business much more manageable. By consistently providing a select number of products or services to your customers, you can make and/or deliver them in a much more effective manner.
This systematic approach to delivering goods and services is used by companies in all sectors and industries as it allows for controlled, stable growth. A large reason for the incredible success of McDonald’s is the fact that you can order a Big Mac in Detroit and one in Miami and get the exact same thing, pay the exact same price, and enjoy an almost identical customer experience. Using this system, McDonald’s was able to scale into the stratosphere and become the most successful franchise in history.
That being said, McDonald’s didn’t become a fast-food titan overnight. Rather, by emphasizing continuity and a universal experience, McDonald’s was able to slowly build and strengthen customer loyalty while gradually expanding its business. This simple business model is infinitely scalable, and while the odds of becoming the next McDonald’s are incredibly slim, it will certainly allow you to scale successfully when diligently followed.
2. Get a Great Team
Systems are great, but with small businesses, it’s the team members who can make or break the company. While you don’t want to scale too quickly by hiring more staff than your revenue justifies, it’s important to realize from the outset that you can’t do it all by yourself.
Sure, hiring and training new employees can be a little overwhelming, but the time you dedicate finding the right people and building a great team will pay off dividends and allow you to reach your business goals. With the right systems and team in place, the sky’s the limit.
3. Know Your Cash Flow
When scaling your business, it’s critical to have some money in the bank. You’re obviously enjoying some level of success, or scaling would be the furthest thing from your mind. However, you need to forecast for the future and plan on knowing exactly what you’re going to have to pay for new hires, increased production, marketing, new equipment, locations, and so on.
Business can be anything but predictable when you’re still small, but you should try to plan ahead for at least six months. Cash flow problems can be disastrous, so knowing your numbers and forecasting the future as best you can is key. During the initial stages of the scaling process, don’t be too weary of giving up some profits. As your business grows, your investment will more than pay for itself.
4. Deliver Consistent Quality
One of the key factors to any business’s success is its ability to provide customers with high-quality goods or services. Therefore, you want to scale your business without sacrificing quality. After all,your current customers expect a certain level of quality with your product or service, and the last thing you want is to let them down.
In order to scale your business successfully, you must be able to continue providing your customers with the same quality time and time again. For many companies, this requires having the right production systems in place and a scalable timeline.
When setting up these systems and beginning the scaling up process, don’t be afraid to turn away business. Although turning down customers may go against the very nature of growth and expansion, if acquiring new customers too soon results in inconsistent quality, your worries may turn from growing pains to liquidation in no time at all.
5. Keep Things in Perspective
Perspective is everything in the business world. While it’s important to stay on top of the details and day-to-day operations, sometimes stepping back and seeing the bigger picture can be a big help. For example, a single engineering job or a half cent uptick in the price of a raw material barely moves the needle of a large corporation with billions in annual sales.
Where your business is and where it is going can be difficult to measure. To scale successfully, the ability to see the bigger picture is at the very least a minimum requirement. Once your systems are setup and working like a fine-tuned machine, you’ll have enough built-in fail safes and redundancies to greatly reduce the likelihood of failure. In the end, the ultimate goal for every business owner is sustainability, regardless of who sits at the head of the table.
What You Need to Know
Scalability is all about having the right people and systems in place to make the expansion of your business as seamless as possible. Stay disciplined with your budget, don’t spend on new team members until you’re positively ready, and make sure your business can be scaled successfully.
If you’re already successful and thinking about scaling, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking your time and putting a solid plan together first. In fact, doing so will greatly improve your bottom line.