Am I ready to scale my business?

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As Australia comes out of lockdown, this is the time to reap what you have sown in the last 18 months. Some business owners may have spent the time during lockdown by watching Netflix, but others have been investing in themselves and their business. 

Maybe you have continued grinding throughout lockdown, sharpening your sword so that when we reopen you’re in the best position to seize new opportunities as they come up. If you have wisely used your time during the pandemic to work on your mindset or expand your knowledge and skills, then like a caterpillar that’s slowly but surely growing in its cocoon, you are ready to emerge into flight.  

If you’ve had the time to develop plans for where you want your business to be after the pandemic it’s going to put you ahead of your competitors, giving you some much-needed breathing space to find your feet and figure out just what normal looks like, while you start to act on your plans to scale your business.

Growing your business can understandably be an overwhelming process to consider, after all, it can be an expensive and tedious process that doesn’t get positive results at first, but knowing how to scale your small business correctly can make the process fun and exciting. 

Scaling can positively impact the growth of your business and result in big benefits including:

  • Having more free time on your hands. Once new processes and systems are in place and your staff knows what to do, your business can function with minimal supervision. This will give you the time to focus on other areas of business or even enjoy time with friends and family.  
  • Providing job opportunities. To accommodate the increased workload, you will need to hire more staff. This will help people in your community find employment, lighten your employees’ current workload and help you expand your core competencies.
  • Increased revenue. Growing your business comes with the potential to increase income, which you can put back into your business or use for personal wealth now or in retirement. 

Scaling your business effectively starts with creating a solid business strategy. Having a positive mindset as well as developing that solid business strategy will make the process of growing your business more efficient and ensure that you maximise your insights and learning.  

Why it’s important to create a business strategy for scaling

A business strategy is a clear outline of steps that pave the way to compete in the market, earn a substantial income and succeed in your industry. 

A business strategy should have details like: 

  • Short-term and long-term business goals
  • Marketing objectives
  • Your target market
  • Competitor analysis
  • Growth areas and future opportunities
  • Delegation of tasks per staff member 

To devise a business strategy for scaling, you would need all the information listed above, plus your outlined plans to grow your business and a list of steps to take to make that happen. 

Getting these details in writing is important because it allows you to analyse everything and see what gaps and risks you have to cover. 

The business strategy can serve as a guide to how small businesses can start the process of scaling and ensure that you’re on the right track to get good results.  

Here are some of the benefits an effective business strategy can deliver: 

  • Good investments. A business strategy allows you to assess potential investments and make an informed decision about which ones suit the future direction of your business. 
  • Organised internal processes. By outlining each staff member's tasks you can easily see if all responsibilities have been covered and are allocated in manageable loads. At the same time, your team will appreciate the clarity of knowing their responsibilities and can be more focused and organised in their efforts. 
  • More opportunities for growth. A solid business strategy will outline the areas you need to improve your business on. This gives your business the chance to zero in on a problematic aspect and improve its processes to make better products, allowing it to grow both internally as a unit and externally to its customers. 

Creating a business strategy will help in scaling your small business by providing a “road map” that is specific to your unique area and business structure. Having a strategy laid out in front of you not only keeps you on track with the things you need to do, but also lets you gauge how effective an activity will be in benefiting your overall business goals. 

5 ways to scale a business 

Following a step-by-step process based on the business strategy you develop will enable you to stay on track with your goals as you scale your business. This prevents you from making drastic changes that might negatively impact your business and allows you to boost your growth.

Here are the five steps business owners must take to ensure that they are scaling their business in the right way.

1. Establish clear business processes and systems

You need to get the fundamentals right when it comes to business scaling. If you have a wonky wheel in your system as a small business, it’s a small workaround to “get by”, if you leave it in there, however, as a medium to large business that same error is causing damage and costly repairs, slowing down work and impacting your level of customer trust.

Review the systems you already have in place and identify any and all improvements and changes you need to implement. 

Creating rules and processes for every area of your business — from marketing and sales to finance and operations — will help maintain order and provide a steady and consistent direction for you and your team to follow, especially when you start hiring more staff and demand picks up. 

As well as ironing out bugs and errors, implementing processes that improve overall efficiency prevents future problems like:

  • Miscommunication between staff members or with clients
  • Poor quality output
  • Delays in production

When the right rules and systems are put in place early, the business can function like a well-oiled machine, allowing your team to work independently and confidently with minimal supervision, which gives you time to focus on other areas of growth and innovation.  

2. Develop good relationships with your team

Your team is the backbone of your business, they support you in actualising your vision so it’s important to maintain good relationships with your staff members. You want them to grow with your business so keep them in the loop and up to date with your plans and business changes. When you have a positive and collaborative workplace your team will be cooperative, motivated and engaged through the scaling process and actively committed to helping you reach the growth you are aiming for. 

Have an open discussion with your team about your scaling strategy before you get started and explain the steps you all need to take to achieve it. 

Give them an opportunity to discuss changes like the additional incoming work, hiring and training of new staff and what the workplace culture might look like going forward. As well as clearly explaining what you expect from them, it will let your staff know just how valuable their input is and how much of a priority they are for you on this journey. 

It’s also important to discuss your business vision with your staff and help them understand how contributing to the business’ success will benefit them and their professional development. Once you’ve done this, it will be easier to keep your team motivated even during challenging situations. Boosting their morale now to help your team’s productivity and positivity that will steer you through any bump in the road ahead. 

3. Have a positive and goal-centric mindset 

Business owners should always have the end goal in mind when they’re scaling their business as well as a positive frame of mind about being able to reach them.  Visualising the bigger picture can give you clarity on the areas of improvement in your business and allow you to focus on high-priority tasks. Understanding your purpose for scaling will help keep you motivated to work and drive you and your team forward to reaching your goals. 

Maintaining a positive outlook while going through the scaling process can impact the workplace for the better. You will be leading by example, so if your staff sees how motivated you are, they will follow suit in accomplishing tasks that get those goals met. 

You can adopt a positive outlook by: 

  • Keeping an open mind. Not everything will happen the way you planned. It’s important to be flexible when you encounter unexpected situations. This will lessen your anxiety when things don’t work out and help you think outside the box to find solutions and adapt to change more easily. 
  • Giving yourself space to breathe. This process can get overwhelming sometimes. It’s important that you give yourself space to relax and breathe. Have some go-to strategies for how you can unwind and take your mind off work so you can clear your head and come back to it when the emotions have settled.
  • Asking for help when you need it. It’s important to seek help when you feel overwhelmed or out of your depth. Getting the guidance of a business coach can help you stay level headed and prioritise what you need to do. Keeping a positive mindset will help you stay on track with your business scaling goals, even when facing speed bumps.

4. Learn what the competition is doing

Timing is everything when it comes to your business branching out successfully. Research the industry and the competition to know if now is the best time to scale a small business.

Look to fill a gap in the market that is not currently being covered, or that’s missing important elements that your customers are asking for. There is no point in launching into an already saturated market where competition is steep. Thorough research will give you an idea of how to improve your products and services and create a scaling strategy that will set your business apart.

The other side of that is your customer’s needs and expectations. It’s risky to scale your business without knowing if your target market is ready for the change.

Get to know the target audience to learn about their interests, preferences, buying habits and paying capacity. Keep in mind that scaling your business can increase the value of your products or services, so it’s important to learn what specific upgrades your customers will be most receptive to.

To fully understand your market and competitors, you can: 

  • Conduct market research. You can do your own research through online studies, field studies or reaching out directly through social media channels to your customers and marketing lists or you can hire an external agency to gather results for you for a quicker and more efficient turnaround, that can include information on your competitors and the industry in general. 
  • Create a competitor profile. This lets you know what your competition is doing, what’s working for them and discover how you can gain a competitive advantage. 
  • Do a SWOT analysis. A SWOT report can help you assess where your business is right now and help you build a more comprehensive scaling strategy. 

5. Ask yourself: Am I ready to scale my business? 

Finally, you need to ask yourself these questions: Am I ready to scale my business? Do I want to scale my business? If yes, how can scaling benefit me and my business?

Scaling is all about taking a good business and making it great. It’s hard work and you’ll be in the growth zone for a while, which might be uncomfortable but if your focus is concentrated on the objectives you want to achieve for your business, you will get there. Are you ready for that? 

You need to be firm and certain in your decision to scale the business because there is no going back. If you feel hesitant halfway through you risk wasting the time, effort and resources you’ve invested so far. 

So, are you ready? If so, strap yourself in, the ride is worth it. 

After going through months of lockdown, laying down your plans for the business and honing your skills, it’s natural to be ready to hit the ground running and show what you can really do on the restart. Scaling your business is a great way to take your success to the next level. This is an exciting time as we come out of transition into a post-Covid world, and the guidance of an experienced business coach can help you figure out your next steps and provide valuable insight and encouragement on your plans to grow your business. 

Scaling your business can be a huge undertaking, there’s a lot of moving parts to be taken into account and you can expect to do some learning as you go. With thorough research, a solid business strategy, a good understanding of the benefits and ways to expand your business and a seasoned business coach, you can build confidence in yourself as a business owner and effectively scale your small business in this post-pandemic world.   

While some business owners can feel scared or overwhelmed by scaling, Evolve to Grow is excited by the process. Our business sherpas understand the rocky path ahead and love to help business owners unlock their full potential and see a good business become great. 

If you’re ready to scale your business, touch base with our guides who are ready and waiting to give you a hand up to the top.

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