When a crab sheds its shell to grow into a larger one, it’s at its most vulnerable. And the same is true of businesses.
Growth is essential to ensure that your company outlasts current trends and climbs its way in the market, but unless it’s carefully considered, scaling your business to suit an expanding customer base or venture into new demographics can quickly go awry.
That doesn’t mean that you should be dissuaded. If you want a high chance of success in scaling your business, it’s all about the preparation.
Making Sure Your Sales Can Keep Up
Sales operations for larger companies can turn into some pretty elaborate machines, so it’s important to make sure that the whole pipeline is primed and ready. This way you will have the resources to keep up with the increased flow and make sure that the scaling process actually delivers an ROI.
For one, that means having the software and hardware infrastructure in place. Is your billing and receivables system capable of handling these new sales adequately, and is there a processing mechanism built to the demands of increased sales?
You also need to make sure that you have the means to bring in new clients. For brick and mortar retailers, finding the right location is key, but for those businesses dispersed across the web, it’s important to ensure that you have steady and dependable leads and a sales team that can keep up with the new pace (and continue to scale with the growth).
If your business hasn’t already incorporated sales management software into its infrastructure, now may be the time. They can provide you with a perspective on your performance and forecasts for the future that offers everything from a granular to a birds-eye view.
Integrating Cloud Computing
While the cloud gets talked about so much that it’s achieved almost mythical status, there’s no doubt that cloud computing is an approach to storage that scales better than just about anything you choose.
Almost any cloud computing plan you find will incorporate a pay-as-you-go model, so your spending will run almost nearly proportional to your usage, saving you significant money in the long term, even if the scaling of your business goes better or worse than you expected.
And it can drastically improve the efficiency of your workplace as well. With everyone from clients to staff to investors having direct access to critical information, you’ll have more transparency and accessibility than you would with a local storage model.
As many as half of IT professionals have stated that cloud-based models have saved them money since your cloud provider will handle so much of the administrative expertise and management. You could conceivably whittle your IT team down to one or two representatives or even let all of your IT be handled remotely, depending on the demands and nature of your business model.
Focusing On Simplicity
While upward scaling means your business is growing larger, you should be trying to shrink down the complexity of your business model whenever possible. Unnecessarily complex businesses have two strategic disadvantages: muddling the message of your branding when reaching out to customers and slowing down your operations significantly.
For that reason, it’s incredibly important to evaluate new wrinkles to your business model and see how they could potentially be streamlined and simplified. Make your goals simple and lean, and make sure that the messages your company delivers to customers are straightforward and compelling. If your business intends to expand into a subfield that will potentially clutter your messaging, it might be time to silo this expansion under a brand.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t potentially use the same resource pool to operate it. This is a decision that will only benefit you more the larger your business becomes. Simple solutions that scale upward without bringing in a lot of unnecessary complexities will greatly ease the stress of growing a company.
Streamlining & Automating Your Workflow
There are a lot of software solutions that can automate a lot of the heavy lifting, but the simple fact is that these services often provide minimal value to smaller businesses and only grow more valuable and efficient as your business scales to support a larger customer base.
That said, there’s no one size fits all software solution for every business.
There are a lot of products that are designed to save expenses for growing businesses, and you’ll need to do some research and close auditing of your company to determine which solutions will integrate well with your business. We advise you to check out everything on the market.
CRM, a customer relationship management platform, is a feasible choice for most growing businesses, but there are a significantly greater number of platforms that might be situational.
Sales management, accounting, and human relations are just a few of the departments that can be partially or wholly automated with local software or cloud solutions. Inventory tracking and management often present the biggest issue when scaling up your business. As your inventory grows, so will the issues without a good management system in place. The aforementioned cloud solutions can also be integrated with inventory tracking and management, giving you the best possible overview of your whole supply chain.
Even more important, you’ll have insights on all the products you offer—you’ll be able to spot seasonal trends and prepare adequately — without having to stress out over products that are out of stock. This will make customers happier too, as they will know that they can rely on you.
There’s generally no one size fits all software platform available, so this step is all about creating a network of solutions that can integrate as well as possible together without an unnecessary level of overlap or redundancy.
Also, be sure to consider where your business will be years down the road. While you shouldn’t be paying now for services that you don’t need, picking software that can scale upward for the determinate future will save you a lot of hassle (and money) because you won’t have to completely rip up and replace your infrastructure in the future.
Remembering Your Customers
While chances are that you’re going to need a sales and marketing department, the best salespeople you have are your own customers. Word of mouth is a more authentic draw for consumers than anything you can sell on TV or the internet, and it doesn’t have any direct overhead costs.
Customer loyalty programs and referral rewards are a quick way to rapidly grow your customer base while training your staff is going above and beyond can provide you with growth with a long tail.
In either case, continuing to focus your operations on a consumer-first approach will help you maintain a sense of clarity as your business expands.
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