What To Know Before Scaling Startups

scaling startups
Scaling startups can be a particularly challenging phase for entrepreneurs. When done right, it can also be extremely rewarding. Read on for some top tips:

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You may have the best product or service in the market but if you don’t play your cards right, it’s not a guarantee for success. As a business owner, you want to make the best decisions for your enterprise. When done right, scaling startups can lead to amazing opportunities for growth.

What does it exactly mean to scale up?

Well first off, Investopedia defines ‘scalability’ as an organization’s ability “to perform well under an increased or expanding workload.” Furthermore, we learn that a business primed to scale up is one that “has survived its start-up phase, established itself in its market, and moved into an early growth phase.”

In short, scaling startups is “not the same as growing a business.” According to HubSpot, it means the startup is “able to handle an increase in sales, work, or output in a cost-effective, reasonable manner.”

So, do you think you’re ready to take your company to the next level?

Here are some important pointers to consider.

Tips for scaling startups

While this list is, by no means, a step-by-step procedure you need to follow for scaling startups, we hope these 6 reminders will prove helpful for serious entrepreneurs. Read on as we share insights from experts who have done it and succeeded!

#1. Assess your team’s capabilities

One crucial component of scaling startups is to make sure that you and your team are on the same page.

You need to evaluate your team members’ current performance, individually and collectively, to see if you are capable of accommodating growth. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. That’s why it’s important to identify both your positive and negative qualities as an organization.

While doing this, you also have to assess if the entire crew remains committed to the company’s mission and vision. It would be way harder to push the business forward if some of your current members aren’t fully embracing your goals and culture.

“Scaling up with a team that’s highly resistant to change isn’t likely to result in much progress,” a Business.com article tells us. “It could actually be counterproductive.”

Naturally, you should ask about their feedback and suggestions about what you, as a boss, can do to improve as well. Knowing and meeting their expectations allows you to keep your members satisfied and motivated.

#2. Take advantage of available tools and talent out there

In some cases, scaling startups can mean hiring additional personnel. However, there are instances when that won’t be necessary at all.

Instead, you can use various apps, tools, and services to lighten the load and simplify the work process.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce:

Technology makes it easier and less expensive to scale a business.  You can gain huge economies of scale and more throughput, with less labor, if you invest wisely in technology.”

This, of course, can lead to saving a significant amount of time and money for entrepreneurs scaling startups.

business men looking at startups scaling startups
Image source: LinkedIn Sales Solutions

For example, you can tap virtual mailbox providers for your mail management needs.  Similarly, you can consider outsourcing gig workers and freelancers. These remote professionals are ready to help you on different projects such as blog writing, graphic design, web development, and more.

#3. Plan your sales strategies well

As you strive to widen your reach, you want to be wise about it as well. You have to be prepared for how you will market your brand and eventually, how you will accommodate the increase in your customer base. Therefore, a detailed and effective plan must be in place.

“Having a strategic plan to drive sales is critical to a company’s growth,” a JP Morgan feature reads.

The investment banking company also mentions:

“Analytical sales planning means being deliberate in searching for relevant, high-ROI (return on investment) opportunities. Spending more time up front developing quality leads and sales content often leads to growth down the road.”

#4. Proceed with caution

Sure, you will need to aim high and take leaps of faith as an entrepreneur. This, however, does not change the fact that you have to be realistic and level headed as you steer the business in new directions.

Bob La Loggia, who has grown and sold businesses himself, told INC:

“One of the biggest myths to scaling a business is that you have to think big… But my personal experience has been that thinking too big, too early can cause a lot of stress on staff and can create a feeling of hopelessness.”

#5. Learn from your competitors

You can’t afford to live in a bubble if you’re aiming for growth. Regardless of your niche, remember that you are part of an industry and need to be aware of current trends. Also, you will benefit from paying attention to your competition.

Learn from both their strengths and weaknesses. Look around for opportunities and threats that may directly affect your business.       

Shell Oil Company’s Arie de Geus once remarked:

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

#6. Stay consistent in delivering quality

As you set the stage for growth, you need to make it a priority to maintain quality with your products and services.

In a Forbes interview, Leapwork CEO and co-founder Christian Brink Frederiksen said:

“One of the biggest problems I see with businesses trying to scale is that they allow their product quality or customer service to deteriorate in an effort to gain new customers.”

man serving female customer scaling startups
Image source: Clay Banks

Obviously, that’s one big mistake you cannot afford to make as it could lead to undesirable consequences, such as losing your loyal clients.  

“You can’t slack on the attributes that helped you land your initial customers,” added Frederiksen.

Author and entrepreneur Lisa Masiello puts it this way:

“Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.”

Conclusion

Scaling startups can be a challenging phase but if you persevere and pull through, it can also be extremely rewarding.

“Make sure that you’re ready to strike when the iron’s hot,” Parse.ly CEO and co-founder Sachin Kamdar reminds entrepreneurs. “If you stay around long enough, you’ll see the unique opportunity that can jettison your startup.”

Best of luck as you work your way towards business scalability!

Featured Image: Mikael Blomkvist

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