Starting a business is no small task, the labor and passions that go into growing a business out of nearly nothing is a Herculean act. With success, comes the desire to grow, but how does one know when the right time is to do so?
What is Scaling?
Scaling refers to the ability of the business to adapt to growth needs and a higher work output without worrying over the loss of quality or income. Nearly every giant out there today started out small, but because they were scalable, they were able to climb quite high, quite quickly. It all comes down to perpetual motion; no wasted movements creates the most optimal outcome.
Initial success doesn’t always measure long term success, so it’s important to be setup properly, or at minimum – to know how to get there. Getting your foundation beneath you is critical because the earliest planning stages can determine the future of the business. More importantly, go slowly – because most failures in scaling come from doing so too early.
You’ll need to know a few key things:
- Who is your perfect target audience?
- Where do you plan to market your business or how?
- Which social media channels will you choose to be active on?
- Do you have the funding to keep it going? (Failures are to be expected as part of the learning process and fine-tuning your skills but you need to be able to absorb it).
Marketing is a huge part of the growth of any startup company. People need to be able to find a company when they look for it on Google or any other major search engine. Word of mouth is great to get a small business off the ground, but it doesn’t scale.
Getting online is massive in terms of scaling. Content marketing is one of the greatest ways to do this, with evergreen value and the potential (while rare) that a post goes viral. This is one of the easiest methods for growth out there.
Outsourcing is something that will need to be considered as a business grows, while not giving up its most important principles. Big companies have people who do all of this for them in the same building, regularly employed by the company to do the job like a staff attorney. Small business owners cannot afford such a luxury, and without being willing to outsource some of the work, compromises will have to be made.
Social media is the pulse people seem to live by, and bad PR will have a negative impact on your business, especially without a plan in place to handle bad comments or publicity. Small businesses need to use social media to the maximum to see the returns they’re hoping for, because it’s all about being seen enough.
It’s also about what a company is seen to represent. What is something that you, as the owner holds dear as an ethical standard? Is it something you feel translates well into your business? If so, flaunt it – because showing your human side is huge these days. People love feeling a warm connection and there is little better than showing a warm side of yourself through your business.
Independent & Strong
Hire people who can lead all by themselves. Hire people who don’t need the owner to be there to get the job done. When a business can stand alone without the owner present, then it’s definitely time to grow.
It can be difficult to find the perfect people, but hold out for the right mix as well, and keep an eye for how everyone will work cohesively as they’re hired because at the end of the day it’s a team. The team must be able to work like a machine together, and not all large groups of people are able to do this. It’s a balance, but it’s crucial to growth.
The minute the owner is able to go ‘hands-free’ and let the business do what it was born to do, success has begun.
Invest in Your Employees
Speaking of those employees – it’s time to invest in them.
Many companies have yet to get out of the 1980s days of cubicle walls, micro-managing and other annoyances of the era. Today, companies like Google give back to their employees in BIG ways. These are company perks that count, and they’re a huge draw to create loyal and happy employees who will fight hard, and invest themselves in the company’s success.
The more a company can get their employees behind them, the better because happy and successful employees help the company to grow.