Have you started a new business successfully? Congrats, that’s a lot more than most people can say! However, that’s just the very beginning of a long entrepreneurial journey! To go from a newly created startup to a big business you need to start thinking about scaling it.
According to the definition in Investopedia, scalability is:
A characteristic of a system, model or function that describes its capability to cope and perform under an increased or expanding workload. A system that scales well will be able to maintain or even increase its level of performance or efficiency when tested by larger operational demands.
This actually means that it’s the ability of your startup to grow or, better yet, its capability of adapting to a larger demand without compromising performance or quality. Stop for a moment and think: is your startup capable of going from making almost no profit to your goal of U$D100.000 MRR?
If your answer to this question is “yes” then you’re ready for scaling your business. There are a few steps you must go through to prepare for scaling. Here’s what you can do to prepare your company for growing.
How to prepare for scaling your startup!
First things first, stop for a moment and think: is your company viable for scaling? Prematurely scaling your startup can be very, very dangerous and it’s the reason 2 out of 3 startups end up failing.
Here’s what you must cover before even thinking about scaling:
- Is your product/service ready to be sold? Making small, gradual improvements based on customer feedback is acceptable. What isn’t is delivering a product people wouldn’t pay to use.
- Who is your targeted user? Clearly define your personas so you can learn how to approach them, the best marketing channels, etc.
- Do you have the resources for scaling? Profitability can’t be your priority while scaling your business so make sure you have enough money for it beforehand. Seek another round of investments if necessary.
Save time – and money: Automate and Outsource!
Automation is essential when scaling your business. Why spend so much time worrying about activities that can be done without you? Research and choose the best tools to help automate everything you can, such as:
- Information management – cloud storage and organization;
- Process automation – new employee and customer onboarding, bug tracking, contact inbox, etc.
- Marketing automation – email automation;
- And much more.
It may take you more than a couple of hours to set up your business automation but that’s an investment that pays for itself in the long run. Automation will allow you to streamline your operations and make better use of yours and your team’s time.
Another alternative for freeing up your and your team’s time is outsourcing all non-essential tasks. Budding startups can’t afford to have a big team – not at their very beginning – so you need to focus on what your team does best and outsource the rest.
Big companies can afford to have in-house professionals but, as a startup, that’s a luxury you can’t afford yet. If you want to get to the point you’re strong enough to grow you’ll need to outsource what you can.
Let the world know about you: focus on marketing!
If you’re not marketing your product/service correctly, how can you expect to scale it if no one even knows about it? If you focus on boosting your marketing strategies, scalability will come naturally.
You have to focus on the “right ways” of marketing: direct marketing and word-of-mouth are not scalable strategies, according to Forbes. Content marketing, however, is one of the most scalable marketing and growth strategies.
Even though content has proven to have evergreen value and sharing potential, it may not be what’s best for your startup. AB testing is your best friend when determining the marketing strategies that’ll help scaling your business.
Find out what people are talking about you: monitor your social media!
Every new and upcoming startup is totally exposed to the public eye and everything that happens on social media channels can and will be examined by the world.
Social media helps form your startup’s image so it’s essentially important to thread carefully on social media. You can’t afford PR hits from social media bloopers, specially when the world is forming the first impressions on your company.
Scaling your startup is as much about surviving as it is about growing and if your startup’s image is tainted by PR fiascos, your chances of survival – and consequently scalability – will be limited.
Nothing but the best: hire the right people!
As much as your company can’t afford to make social media fiascos, it can’t take hits for hiring people that aren’t the right fit for it.
The first thing you have to consider when growing your startup’s team is that, whoever you choose to hire has to be absolutely essential for your operation. As we’ve mentioned before, you need to outsource all non-essential tasks to ensure your scalability.
The people you hire must be able to do what no one (including softwares) can do. If you hire someone to do something a machine could do (don’t forget: automate whatever you can!), you’re wasting human effort.
People that work at startups must have the right growth mindset – they must be sources of good ideas as well as have more than one skill. Your growing startup can’t afford to have a big team so your employees must be able to perform two, three or more jobs at the same time.
Your startup is not (all) about you!
In order for your startup to be truly ready for scaling it should be able to function properly without you. Delegating is essential for it allows you to shift responsibility off your shoulders.
Independent teams must be able to adapt to absences, such as vacations, and even though it may be hard to find out your business will thrive without you being there, if you want to have a life as well as manage your business, you’ll need to be humble to admit you’re not essential.
Proving to yourself that your team’s and your business’ success don’t depend on your presence can be liberating to you and will greatly empower your team members.
Scaling your business is not just about having the right processes, people and planning – before you can become big, you have to think big.
Getting the right mindset and allowing you to dream bigger is what tells you’re on the right path for making a lot of money. So, what do you think? Is your startup ready for scaling?