If you have built a successful startup in a short period of time, complacency can set in very quickly. To stay relevant and reinforce your brand image and value in a consumer’s mind, your business needs to scale rapidly.
Scaling a business is less exciting than it appears, and growing a company quickly can be a challenge. In 2021, the nature of business operations has changed, so let’s take a look at five ways you can scale your business today.
It’s easy to lose sight of what made your startup business click if you’re too busy with series fundings and valuations. Focus on your unique proposition and how you solve the problems of customers and keep refining it. You need to continue nurturing the touchpoints that your consumers love to engage with. A business that doesn’t have its heart at the right place won’t yield great results just by scaling quickly.
Sort your finances
If you’re leading a $10 million company and want to expand it into a $100 million company, understanding your finances is crucial. Does your business have a positive cash flow? Is it profitable right now? Is it bootstrapped or planning for Series A, B, C fundings? Where does it see itself in the next five years in terms of revenue? Having a clear idea of the reach of your business and how it will spend money should give you a competitive edge while scaling.
One of the other questions you will need to answer is “where is the money for scaling going to come from”? When you plan on scaling your business, you will need extra capital to do it right. Here are some options for funding your businesses scaling project.
- Retained earnings– SaaS (software as a service) businesses usually naturally scale when they have cross their threshold of recurring revenue. However, most other types of businesses need to allocate specific funds from their retained earnings for scaling.
- Debt financing-If you’ve built a strong foundation for your business and have also built some business credit, you may be able to acquire a loan to fund your scaling project.
- Equity financing-This is when you offer equity in your company in exchange for capital. The equity is often given to angel investors or venture capitalists.
A big part of scaling quickly is achieved by delegating tasks and keeping resources lean. Leveraging technology to find areas that can be automated should help you balance growth and expenditures. For instance, sales engagement software can help you close leads faster, manage the status of deals, and build a customer engagement forecast. All of this will provide a deeper understanding of your sales team’s performance.
Build a network
People often say your network is your net worth. In this day and age, building a public profile and networking actively improves your chance of success. By understanding who you are, along with what you sell and to whom, you should be able to build a positive circle of like-minded people who can help each other grow. In order to network effectively, you need to foster relationships that are built on mutual trust, engage with business leaders, show up in relevant events, and offer genuine value to people.
Expand your team
Having a great team around you is more important now than it has ever been. It is also getting harder to do as a business owner. As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, small businesses are finding it hard to fill open positions. There is also the challenge of retaining your team during and after you scale your business.
One of the best ways to get a good team around is to utilize freelancers. Sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com can help fill in the gaps when it comes to digital projects and administration support. Even a site like Fiverr has developed into a great source to find quality workers. The site was once know for finding cheap (and sometimes low quality) freelancers. But over time, Fiverr has grown and added Fiverr Pro which allows a person to hire a vetted professional to help with any number of projects.
As far as retaining your team, it is important to cultivate a great relationship with your employees and freelancers. Even though you cannot offer benefits like retirement plans or health insurance to your freelance employees, there are ways to treat them to get maximum output. Acknowledging their work, communicating well with them, and offering other incentives like you do with your staff employees will go a long way with most of your freelancers.
Learn from past successes
Businesses are often so caught up within their own scaling operations that they don’t keep themselves open to outside inspiration. Closely following and interacting with businesses that have successfully scaled in the past can help you develop perspectives. You can use the knowledge base to fine-tune the company culture, include value-based behaviors, and curate learning content to avoid mistakes on your way.
Scaling a business in 2021 is more about dealing with raw data than just marketing the next big thing. With robust revenue intelligence, you can stay on top of your customer metrics and lay out a successful scaling strategy.