5 Tips for Scaling Up Your Business Without Big Investments
Modern technology has made scaling businesses much less labor and resource-intensive than in the past.
It’s no longer necessary to hire employees and install computer and networking infrastructure to make the transition from a small business to an enterprise.
While you do still need to scale up your workforce, it’s not as steep of a curve, nor does it take as long.
In this article, we’ll cover the five most important things involved in scaling a new business up to serve larger markets.
1. Build on a Stable Framework
Early in your enterprise’s life cycle is the best time to spend the energy needed to discover a stable framework for both its business model and technology.
This period of experimentation is an opportunity to make mistakes and discover what works best for your customers.
Once you begin scaling up, any systems that aren’t the most efficient for your business will be multiplied several times as you grow, and it’ll be more costly to replace them later.
It pays to think about the technologies and services needed to scale up smoothly before you begin rather than after you’ve grown significantly.
A good example of this for an e-commerce startup is selecting the right CRM for the website and backend systems.
You may need to significantly customize an existing technology stack or develop your own.
It’s a good time to figure out the best ways to leverage AI and automation so that they are integrated early on.
2. Don’t Shy Away from a Strategic Vision
Strategic planning is an ongoing task for a business of any size.
In order to scale up to the next level, though, you’ll need to take the time to determine your ultimate destination and what the most practical path to reach will be.
Once those milestones are laid down, the scaling-up process will be easier to direct and navigate successfully.
Long-term goals should look further out than quarterly forecasts. For a business to grow into a more profitable position, you’ll need a strategic vision that’s updating annually to account for larger market forces.
If you have a product-centered business, your long-term goals might revolve around market penetration and growing your customer base.
A technology-centered business, on the other hand, will need to pay close attention to talent acquisition and training to drive the development of its products and services.
In either case, the larger cycles of growth will inform your short-term decisions.
3. Determine What Your Core Strengths Are
Even though scaling up a business is not as expensive as it once was, it’s still important to stay focused on your enterprise’s core strengths and goals.
If a business attempts to expand in too many directions at the same time, it’s less likely to find the expertise needed to manage those different projects successfully. Instead, the business’s expansion will feel like throwing darts to see which effort hits a bullseye.
The projects that fail with cancel out the ones that are successful.
If you identify your strengths early on and focus on them, you’ll be much better positioned to keep the expertise in place to accomplish your long-term goals.
Early on in a business’s expansion, its existing talent will be easy to squander on too many initiatives before it can gather the new talent needed for more ambitious plans.
4. Invest in Scalable Business Technologies
Of course, one of the central pieces of any business scalability plan will be the technology that enables rapid and low-cost growth.
Cloud technology and collaboration tools have multiplied in recent years that are low cost or free for small startups and entrepreneurs.
These solutions, however, won’t be the best choices to have in place when your business has reached the next level.
In order to grow efficiently, planning will need to include the transition from one technology to the next as your workforce and customer base expands.
One dimension to analyze is the cost of using technology solutions as well as the time required to integrate them.
Many solutions offer simple and nearly free versions to bring new clients into the fold, but quickly scale their subscription fees higher as you grow.
If you know your business will be moving into a higher usage tier, choose your technology solution accordingly.
Another area to consider when planning for future growth is what type of cloud technology to adopt.
Public and private cloud hosting options exist today each with pros and cons for customer-facing and internal applications. Changing gears after growing can complicate things, so it’s best to plan your path in advance based on your business model and its growth potential.
5. Let Your Business Grow Organically
Growth takes time.
Customers need to find your product and spread the word about it, and your star talent needs to grow in experience as you recruit new talent.
These processes take time to mature and bear fruit.
Keeping your business’s growth at the same pace as its capacity to grow increases will be key to success in the long run.
That means letting organic factors play out without forcing them prematurely.
The same principle holds true for developing applications and customer-facing websites.
It takes time to fully realize the potential for long-term technology goals.
Whether it’s a matter of locating and gathering the right tech talent or letting the software develop through several iterations of improvement, you’ll need to let it grow at a healthy pace without rushing it in order to succeed.
Taking a startup through growth phases and reaching the full potential requires strong discipline and planning skills.
Not only do you need a solid plan in place, but you also will need to take the curves and obstacles that manifest along the way.
Bringing together a solid team of talented professionals, developing the right technology tools, and keeping scalability in mind since day one will ensure that a small business is able to grow into a successful enterprise.