When it comes to scaling a business, you’ll need more than hard work and dedication. (Although you’ll need those qualities, too.) If you’re ready to take your startup or small business to the next level, you’ll need to evaluate your current practices and determine how you can work efficiently with 5, 10, or even 20 times as many customers.
Scaling a Business for Long-term Success
Against all odds, you’ve taken your million dollar idea and grown it into a small business. What started as a one-person operation has turned into an active and bustling office of 5 – 10 employees, all of whom are committed to the success of your business.
But when it comes to scaling a business, commitment and hard work often aren’t enough. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, you’ll need to evaluate your current model. Then, you’ll have to figure out how it can work efficiently with 5 times as many customers as you have now.
Many small business owners struggle with this part of the growth process. With these 5 key steps to scaling a business, you can start building the foundation for long-term growth and success.
Increase Your Business’s Visibility
In the early stages of scaling a business, it is important to find creative ways to increase your visibility. There are a number of ways that you can get the word out about your products and services, including social media promotion, webinars, trade shows, and more.
Although trade shows often require a hefty fee for admission, social media and webinars are a great promotional medium for small businesses with small advertising budgets.
And remember: whatever your business is doing, you need to take the time to write about it. Use the digital tools at your fingertips as a launchpad to support your efforts to scale your business.
Evaluate Your Value Proposition (And Charge Accordingly)
This might seek like a step that you would take when first starting a business, but it also applies as you work to grow and expand your reach.
Many startups and small businesses begin by selling their products and services based on hours, or the number of staff members needed to produce deliverables. While this may be a reasonable strategy to start with, it is not a sustainable model, and it could prevent you from scaling your business for long-term growth.
Instead of focusing on service hours, think about the value that you provide for your customers. For example, it may only take 1 hour for your IT staff to complete a task—but what kind of expertise is required for this efficiency? Your customers will pay more for the value of your service than they would for a simple solution or product that they could implement without your business’s expertise.
Create Recurring Revenue
One of the most important elements of scaling a business is developing opportunities for recurring revenue. If you’re constantly worried about how much you need to sell in order to pay the bills, you simply won’t have enough room to grow.
Take the time to think about what ongoing services your customers might need, and develop a way to cater to those needs. For example, if you are an IT company that specializes in helpdesk support, you might consider creating monthly or yearly service plans for businesses that need ongoing tech support.
Look for Cost-saving Opportunities
Finding ways to cut costs is just as important as developing new opportunities for recurring revenue when it comes to scaling your business. As you search for places to cut costs, you should do a full inventory of all the paid services that you use to run your small business.
Here are just a few examples of what many businesses need to operate on a daily basis:
• Phone systems
• Workflow management tools
• Internet service
• Business applications
After you’ve compiled a list of the tools and resources that you and your employees use, ask yourself:
• How much am I paying for each service now?
• Will I need to pay for additional hardware, equipment, or licenses as my business grows?
• Is there a more cost-effective option for these services, and how can I save as I scale my business?
Establish Strong Business Partnerships
Whether you’re selling a product or service, you have two main ways to approach potential customers. First, you can sell your materials with an internal sales team that manages both inbound and outbound efforts. (Most startups and small businesses start out with this model.) While this strategy can be effective, it’s often difficult to reach new target markets while you’re essentially selling door to door.
As you are scaling your business, seek out other companies who can sell products and services for you, expanding your reach dramatically. These kinds of partnerships can help you build revenue and extend to previously untapped markets.
Looking for additional resources for scaling your small business? Explore the resources below: