Scaling a business refers to setting the stage to facilitate and support growth in your company. It involves planning, acquiring funding, ensuring sufficient staffing, improving processes and utilizing technology in order to manage an increase in sales/work/output without compromising performance or losing revenue. It’s about capacity and capability. So, what do you need to consider when scaling your business?
- Plan and Evaluate: Are you ready for growth? Do you have the staff and systems to handle an increase in sales? What processes can you handle internally? Which should you outsource? Do you need new technology, more equipment, larger facilities? Take stock of where your business is now. Generate a detailed sales growth forecast; a month by month prediction of the level of sales you will achieve, a break down of projected sales (by product, market, and geographic region), the number of new customers required, orders you wish to generate. Anticipate where expenses will rise. Consider what you will focus on, what you will change and what steps are involved. If possible, involve staff in your vision and planning. If they are invested they will work harder and remain longer.
- Acquire funding: Find the funds to fuel your growth. Evaluate all possibilities; a kickstarter, crowdfunding, monthly subscription model, a partner, investors, debt financing, a business loan, equity financing, a line of credit.
- Utilize technology: Examine the possibility of using technology to streamline operations, reducing time and labour while boosting volume. Evaluate software (CRM, marketing automation, sales management, inventory, manufacturing, accounting, payroll, HR, shipping, training) and hardware (servers, computers, printers, telephone equipment). Decide whether to invest in internal IT support or outsource.
- Find and hire the right people: Having the right team with the right skills is crucial for coping with the challenges of scaling your business. Determine how many employees you need for customer service, manufacturing, inventory, management, accounting/payroll and delivery of products. Can you use contractors or part time employees? How will you onboard/train new hires? Who will recruit and hire? Do you have a strategic interview process in place? Offer benefits to attract top candidates.
- Simplify processes: Complexity requires more meetings, more explanations, more communication, more training and more people. It slows down a business and inhibits growth. Constantly look for ways to simplify strategies and operations.
- Collect and use hard data: Collect data regarding your customers and prospects; how they move through your sales funnel, how long it takes to convert, what causes them to leave/stay, how they engage with your business, what their trigger/pain points are, their complaints/issues with your product/company, what they love about your product/company. Use this information to inform your marketing campaigns.
When you’re ready to scale your business, aim for a slow, steady, strategic rise. Plan thoroughly, hire quality staff, keep your costs low, pay attention to your data, simplify when possible, make wise use of technology and obtain sufficient financing. Think big. Then take small individual steps to make your vision come true.
Thinking of scaling your business? Let Cook & Company help. We’re a Chartered Professional Accounting firm that’s helped countless businesses achieve financial success. We offer a different approach to accounting and tax advice, personalized one-on-one service, creative financial solutions and unique strategies to handle everything from income tax planning to financial statement audits and financial planning. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business. Call 403-768-4383