3 Tips For Moving From Start-up to Scale-up
When you started your business, you will no doubt have had grand plans for the future. All entrepreneurs do. What makes those plans possible is the scalability; can your business become that big organisation that lives and breathes on its own without needing you at its centre, or will it fall apart the minute you walk away?
Here’s three of my top tips for scaling your start-up.
- Don’t scale-up until your start-up is perfect
OK, I know that achieving perfection might be a stretch too far (perfection doesn’t exist, right?) but you really need to be 100% sure that your start-up is working as it should before you even consider scaling-up. Are you clear on your customer proposition? Are there any parts of your sales or marketing strategy that need further clarity? Do you have the right team in place, and fully trained and ready to go, to make it happen? Can your business actually afford to take this important step? Is taking the step to scale-up going to cost you money you can ill afford somewhere else? A large proportion of businesses fail because they try to grow too fast; make sure that yours isn’t one of them.
- Don’t think you have to do everything in-house
Those of you who’ve worked with me over the years, and/or read my book and blogs, will know that I’m a big fan of keeping things small and not spending money if you can possibly avoid it when you’re starting a business. My second top tip, therefore, might come as a surprise; however, if you are going to use your expert and intimate knowledge of your business, its products/services and customers, to scale your operations up, you won’t have time to do everything else too. Gone is the bootstrapping mindset, and in its place is the dream big and plan big mentality. This is an opportunity to find the right team members – employed, freelance, or otherwise – to help you to grow your business to the next level, whilst you concentrate on developing strategies.
- Get busy developing your pipeline and profiles
Never before have you needed to work on developing all things sales and marketing as much as you do now. When you were in the start-up stage it was all about keeping things manageable and sensible; developing enough business to keep things ticking over, whilst having enough time to run the business as well as provide your services/products to customers or clients. Now you’re planning to scale up, things are getting serious. You will have staff to train, pay and look after; much bigger supplier bills and operational expenses, and that all means much more time must be spent on business development. You will need a solid bizdev strategy, someone to carry it out on your behalf, and checks and balances to ensure it’s working effectively. You’ll also need a regular online presence via your website and social media, as well as a permanent customer facing presence if you haven’t had one previously. This can’t be done in an hour a day. It’s important that you factor this into your overall plans.
Scaling a business up is extremely exciting but it also comes with great responsibility. Take your time, make sure that you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, take advice (lots of it) and believe in your business and your own abilities. After all, you’ve come further than 85% of businesses have…