Scaling your small business is incredibly exciting, but there’s a lot to think about. It’s important to have solid rules and guidelines in place, and a clear plan to follow. If you’re ready to scale up your small business then read on for seven top tips to help you do it.
1) Hold Onto Your Values
Your values should always be at the heart of your business, so be careful not to lose sight of them as you scale up. After all, these values have been instrumental in helping you achieve success so far, so don’t sacrifice them as your company grows.
2) Identify Your Barriers
What is getting in the way of your growth? What could go wrong as you scale up?
Take a step back, put your emotions to one side and take an honest, objective look at your business. Do you lack funding? Are you experiencing cash flow issues? Do you have a high staff turnover rate? Are there problems with your current premises?
Identifying your barriers to growth is the first step to overcoming them so don’t be afraid to take a long, hard look at your business. Every business has its weaknesses, so don’t be disheartened by yours but instead view them as an opportunity to improve.
3) Run the Business You Want, Not the Business You Have
In order to scale up successfully, you need to bridge the gap between where you currently are and where you want to be. What works for you right now might break as you begin to grow, so it’s important to put systems and SOPs in place that will continue to work seamlessly as you scale up. Take a look at your cash flow, team, IT systems, workflows and supply chain to see what is going to creak or even break as your business expands, and prepare accordingly.
4) Build the Right Team
Leading on from the previous point, building a strong team of employees is an essential part of scaling your small business. You will need to take on more staff as you grow and ensure that they share your values. When hiring, place special importance on attitude and willingness to learn; you can teach an employee new skills but it’s very difficult to fix a negative mindset.
Staff morale is essential to productivity and a low turnover rate, so it’s in your best interests to create a supportive company culture that helps each team member reach their potential. Remember that making your staff feel seen, heard and appreciated goes a lot further than fancy merchandise or an extravagant Christmas party ever will.
5) Learn from the Competition
Study your competitors who have successfully scaled up – how did they do it? What worked well for them, and what could they have done better? How did they change as they grew? Your competitors constitute a valuable learning opportunity, particularly when it comes to business growth.
6) Stay Focused on Customer Service
The last thing you want to do when scaling up is antagonise your customers. You must remain consistent with the quality of your customer service; scaling up will do more harm than good if it causes all of your customers to flock elsewhere.
Of course, mistakes do happen but it’s important to rectify them as soon as possible, maintain honest communication with your customers and make them feel valued to keep them coming back.
7) Monitor Your Cash Flow
Many of the biggest challenges businesses face during the scale-up phase are cash flow related. Whilst you do have to spend in order to grow, it’s important to keep a close eye on your cash flow throughout this process so that you know where every penny is going. This way, you can identify and solve any issues as soon as they arise, and see off potential threats before they come to fruition. It’s also important to prepare an adequate cash reserve for emergencies and unforeseen costs so that bumps in the road don’t cause a total breakdown.
Whilst the scale-up phase can be challenging for small business owners, it’s also exciting and provides a great opportunity to build an even better business. Whilst we can’t promise that employing the above seven tips will make scaling your business 100% worry free, they can make the process significantly smoother and easier.
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