Thinking about scaling up your successful business? Chances are you’re feeling an exhilarating mix of excitement, trepidation, and eagerness to simply get on with things and start the process of growth. Scaling, however, comes with inherent risk – as well as inherent opportunity. Weigh the odds in your favor by carefully planning your venture and preparing for a variety of outcomes and market fluctuations.
Use the guide below as a jumping-off point to help you begin planning for the scale-up, thinking about the potential pitfalls, and creating a long-term vision for growth.
1. Assess Customer Demand
This is the most important factor of all: if there’s not sufficient long-term demand to support scaling up the business, you’re going to run into trouble fast. Start by checking the figures carefully to ensure there’s not just consistent demand for your products or services but consistently rising demand.
As well as sales, assess consumer interest by analyzing online conversions, customer feedback, and the extent to which, for example, customers recommend your products to others or leave positive comments on your business’s social pages.
Market conditions will also play a key role in assessing customer demand to decide whether now is the right time to scale. Consider the current economic outlook, and think about whether recent or forthcoming events could have an impact on the persuadability of your target market to buy from your business.
2. Get the Finances in Place
Scaling your business is an important, exciting milestone, and you may be keen to get on with it as soon as possible…but before doing anything, ensure you have all the financial resources you need in place. Cost the scaling operation carefully, taking into account everything from increased staff costs to bigger premises to higher taxes – and all that’s in between.
Work out in advance where the finances will come from – will you need to take out a business loan, attempt to attract angel funding, or do you have financial reserves in place? Just as you did with your business plan at the start of the enterprise, map out clearly how you’ll use the financing and, if possible, build in a contingency fund – just in case.
3. Build the Infrastructure
When scaling, you need to be able to hit the ground running. If your scaling is successful, you could, very quickly, suddenly be on the receiving end of a significant increase in orders – which is great unless you don’t have the capacity to fulfill them all.
So, as part of your scaling plans, get all the behind-the-scenes stuff sorted out before going ‘live,’ To this end, think about which departments will need extra staff members and whether there are any departments that need creating from scratch. Put in place everything your existing and new employees need to do their jobs properly from day one: as well as the right equipment and tech; think about bringing on board new comms software that incorporates, for example, team chat and video conferencing features, so there is nothing to get in the way of achieving maximum productivity.
4. The Importance of the Core Product
When scaling a successful company, remaining true to the business’s core product is usually a really good idea. While diversifying your product lines or adding new services to your roster is great, always remember the core product or ethos that the success of the business has ultimately been built on.
This approach is an effective way to build your brand recognition and develop a loyal customer base. Plus, remaining focused on your business’s strengths can help you resist the temptation of going down some unprofitable and distracting rabbit holes.
5. Sustainable Growth over Over-Expansion
One of the most common mistakes that businesses make when scaling is focusing on fast expansion over slower, long-term growth. This can lead to committing too much, in terms of financial and other resources, before there’s sufficient demand. In most cases, a slower approach is best. This will also allow you to continually monitor and, if necessary, tweak plans to take into account arising factors or unforeseen elements.
The setting of clear, realistic goals can help with this – and moving towards lots of smaller milestones rather than one vague overarching end-point will help your business scale more sustainably. Plus, it’s a great way to keep morale high, especially if you hit a tough patch.
Scaling for Long-Term Success
There’s no doubt about it; scaling can be a risky business. But with the proper planning in place, it’s possible to scale up while limiting risk exposure. Create your scaling plans with the same thoroughness and attention to detail as you did your start-up plans, and ensure you consider all the possible obstacles and challenges that lie ahead. These don’t need to get in the way of your plans, but figuring out how you’ll tackle these things in advance is better than hitting them head-on and having to hurriedly come up with a solution.
Use the guide above to help with getting started on taking the next step on your business journey and to ensure the ride is as smooth as possible!
Also Read: 7 Signs of a successful business opportunity