A Start-up’s Guide to Scaling Your Business in Less Than 1 Year
There’s a saying in business that goes, “work smarter, not harder” and that’s really food for thought, isn’t it? How can you be smart about scaling your business in the shortest time frame without putting your business at risk? There are various hurdles that a business owner faces when trying to grow the business and if the wrong approach is taken, failure can be imminent.
According to Parliament statistics, there were 5.7 million private sector businesses operating in the UK in 2018. This figure is sure to have grown, but just how many businesses fell by the wayside since then? Of course, the word ‘failure’ shouldn’t even feature in your mind when you think about scaling up your business in less than a year.
Do you know why? Well, it’s not because arrogant confidence will get you everywhere in business (it really won’t), but because before you start the scaling up process, you will have complete peace of mind that your startup is fully prepared, and you have made all the necessary considerations regarding the challenges and opportunities that you will undoubtedly be faced with during the process.
4 Strategies for Scaling Your Business
While working with some of the most promising entrepreneurs in the UK and watching them grow, I couldn’t help but notice that there are a few strategies that a business can take, that increase chances of scaling up in less than a year, without compromising the business. Repeat growth is of course the number one goal and with the following approaches, that’s exactly what you can achieve.
Take the Plunge – Try Something New (in your marketing approach)
Many entrepreneurs fear the marketing avenues available to them. Often, it’s a case of fearing the unknown. It’s also a common misconception that online marketing/advertising is expensive and that you can invest a bucket load of money, only to come out with little to no returns. The reality is that your business is in a worse off position by trying nothing new or simply not advertising at all.
According to Statista, the digital advertising spend in the UK in 2019 amounted to $16,908 million (that’s £13,06 million). Businesses are spending that much on digital marketing because it works, so be prepared to make a bold statement.
Try a new advertising avenue online. If you haven’t tried pay-per-click advertising yet, look at your budget and decide how much you can afford to spend on experimenting with it.
If you haven’t been posting interesting non-salesy content, try it out, content marketing is highly successful and perhaps it’s just what your business (and its customers) need.
If you are afraid of taking the plunge yourself, consult with a digital marketing team about the possible options available to you. Be clear about your fears and reservations and they will be able to create a solution that fits your budget and keeps you feeling comfortable and confident too.
Capitalise on Automation Opportunities
One of the mistakes that entrepreneurs make is to try scale up the business without preparing to expand the business internally too. A start-up business trying to scale is going to need all hands-on deck and a few new hands too.
Hiring new staff is fairly unavoidable, but you probably don’t need to hire quite as many people as you think you do, if you are strategic about it. You don’t want to spread staff too thin as a customer kept waiting is an unhappy customer – probably a never-to-return customer too.
Instead, find ways to automate some of the more mundane administrative tasks in the office. Your sales staff would probably like to be out there making sales and delivering great service, not creating and filling in spread sheets, uploading documents, checking in with management on task completion, or writing out reports.
You will find some great cloud-based automation systems available online. These put the entire team together online and allow instant and secure sharing of information, task management and more.
Make Delighting Your Customers a Number 1 Priority
You have spreadsheets, profits and losses, outstanding orders with suppliers, production, and advertising options on your mind.
Undoubtedly, your plate is full taking care of the nitty-gritty bits and bobs of your business operations, but your customer should never know that you are under quite so much stress or pressure.
In fact, they shouldn’t have the slightest clue that you have anything other to do than absolutely delight them.
You are probably thinking “but shouldn’t I be focusing on getting more customers?”, and while acquiring new customers is important, the most work you do should be put into keeping your existing customer base happy as can be. This comes with added perks.
The more you delight your existing customers, the more they will sing your praises and that’s brilliant free advertising that often comes with massive, long term rewards: more loyal customers who too will soon be singing your praises.
How do you delight your customers? First, make sure that every staff member is highly trained in the art of customer care. They need to be well presented, have a cheerful disposition, and be extremely educated in all areas of the business and its products.
Hire people who are willing to go the extra mile for your customers. They need to be able to answer every possible question about products and how to use them.
Another way to delight customers is to keep prices competitive and products high-quality. Anticipate the needs and requirements of your target audience and make sure that you have solutions to those needs.
In addition to that, make sure that you are providing helpful guidance and advice on how to best use your products, before they have to ask for it. Convenience = absolute delight.
Be Prepared to Be Versatile
How often do customers come into your store or make contact with your business and ask for a certain product, service, or idea, and walk away disappointed? There might be a gap in the market that you are missing.
Make sure that staff members record all queries and requirements that customers have that aren’t being met because you don’t have the product, don’t offer the service, or haven’t thought about it before.
Also, check which search terms are being entered into your website’s search boxes. Monitor what your target audience is asking about on social media platforms.
You might notice that there is a need that your company can meet if it is versatile and willing to branch into something slightly new. If you are willing to try something new to entertain the needs and requirements of your customer base, your business will go far.
Forget About the Easy Way Out – Be Willing to Put in the Hard Work
Growth that happens overnight or all too quickly could just be fad inspired growth and eventually simmer down, or it could hurtle your business into distress from growth that happens too quickly.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to know that scaling your business is not something that should happen quickly. As your business experiences growth, you will probably find that a few opportunities to cut corners arise.
Avoid doing this; it might get you results quicker, but could end up compromising your business in the long run. Have a balanced and methodical approach to the process and be willing to put in the hard work where necessary and your growth will be steady and reliable.
Charlotte Ross is a leading contributor of content and all things SEO related at Dojono, a London-based agency. Charlotte is always putting her knowledge and experience to good use and when she’s not working, you’ll usually find her with her head in a book or watching a docuseries on Netflix.