This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
To successfully scale your business, you need a solid plan in place before you start.
5 min read
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Growing your company is every entrepreneur’s goal: make your product or service replicable and available to more customers who want it. Growth requires that you scale — and vice/versa — to enable and support all of your new customers and orders. But scaling requires skill, and a solid plan put in place before you start.
I’ve seen many teams fail when they try to scale because they did not have a plan in place before growth happened. If you really want to scale in a sustainable, lucrative way, it’s imperative that you have a strong capacity and capability from the get-go. Here are six ways that you can design a strong scaffolding of people and systems that will support growth and scalability.
1. Scaling starts with the right team
The importance of your initial core team cannot be overstated. Great people are the key to building a company of any size. From the technical skills to the marketing skills (and sometimes both at the same time), your senior roles should be brilliant leaders who cover the necessary bases and represent many different walks of life. Your core team should also be people who are in it for the long haul — when roles get more specialized as you grow and aren’t “Jack-of-all-trades,” your core members should be willing to roll with the changes.
2. Take advantage of global tech talent
There are myriad reasons to hire global talent to help scale your business. Cost efficiency is one, but additionally, it’s easier than ever to hire developer teams to implement replicable systems as you scale.
Also, diversity on your team isn’t just an asset; it’s a must. Diversity makes your team stronger and more adaptable to a global economy. But more importantly, the more varied your team, the more creative it will be. Set the bar for diversity from the get-go.
3. Take your time
The push to grow as big as possible is alluring. More customers, more product, more money and more glory! But pushing to scale too soon can decimate your company if you don’t have structures already in place to circumvent confusion.
Like any engineering problem, beginning with a complex system when trying to build will inevitably fail. The architecture underneath must be simple and solid bedrock. Increasingly complex systems can be built on top of that. Too many times I have seen growth cause a company to falter: they add new hires to service new customers, but don’t have the finances to support them. Confusion leads to faltering customer service, miscommunication, and inefficiency, and the whole system fails.
Remember this when scaling, as your company is a complex system of people, processes, products and customers. Begin with the simple, nail that to the wall, and then advance to replicable automated systems that will bring you smoothly into the future.
4. Create opportunities for advancement
Hiring your tech talent can only take you so far — retaining them is another issue altogether. According to the LinkedIn Job Switcher’s report, 45% of people left their jobs because there was no room for advancement.
Plan, as part of your scaling, to provide opportunities for employees to grow with you. If your company is growing but your employees are not getting any advantage from that growth, you’re creating a lot of resentment. People want to evolve their own careers and be challenged, and you can provide that by promoting internally and creating new project lead jobs and supervisorial roles.
5. Stay up-to-date
The old systems that you have in place won’t cut it when you’re scaling, especially when it comes to technology. Updating your tech will help you save money and be more efficient. When you have multiple different systems (as many young companies do) and they aren’t talking to each other, you create silos that jam up your workflow considerably and exacerbate communication problems. Put new systems in place now — before you start to scale — so that you can avoid these frustrating and time-sucking problems.
6. Don’t be afraid to change course
Keep refining your processes, changing and shifting to suit as you grow. Scaling can make or break your business, but with just a little bit of foresight and planning, you can set your business up to scale smoothly and efficiently.