When anyone starts a business, the dream is to make it big. Whilst not all businesses get there, most will experience periods of scale-up. These periods of expansion are often make or break for businesses. There are a few things you can implement early on to ensure your expansion goes smoothly and most importantly, successfully.
Whilst most of the following tips are worth adopting into your company from the get go, you can harness the advice and still see results if your business is more developed.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Alan Lakein
Every business, regardless of the size, should have a clear vision of the future of the company and a solid plan in place as to how to get there. Your standards, procedures and strategies should be set in stone before attempting to navigate any period of growth. One of the first things you should do when starting a business is create a vision, if you have already started your company and haven’t done this, do it now! Start thinking about where you want your company to go and set some long-term goals. Then, look at the strategies you will adopt and the milestones to reach those goals. You need to plan for the long term, not just for the bare minimum.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn
So, you’ve got your vision. That’s great but vision is nothing without a plan. In order to save yourself time in the future, invest some time now in putting your plan in writing. Look at creating company guidelines, your vision for the business, your chain of command and your standards of quality. Though this does not need to be set in stone, these are the values you and your employees should live by to ensure consistency and continual high standards.
Get help and be detailed. If you have employees, ask them to help create manuals and guides for new starters. New starter reference material will create less questions to answer, less time putting out fires, less time having to micro-manage and give you more time to spend on your customers and growing your business.
Utilise Free Resources
“You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself”’ – Seth Godin
Harnessing the power of social media can open up advertising and marketing opportunities you can only dream of for little to no cost. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn can give your business massive exposure across a larger geography.
Adopting successful media strategies can encourage personal brand loyalty with your customers and allow you to target and convert desired customer bases you may not previously have been able to permeate. The best way to ensure social strategies are successful is via monitoring and updating consistently. This can take time, but there are many social media automation and scheduling tools you can use in order to work smarter, not harder.
Buy Time, Outsource
“Do what you do best, outsource the rest” – Peter Druker
In some instances, you will find you have tasks that you don’t have time for, but you can’t get rid of. This is where outsourcing comes in, though it requires financial compensation (often at a low cost) outsourcing can be proven invaluable in relation to time saved on arduous tasks. Perhaps it’s not only your personal tasks as the business owner that could be outsourced. Could you outsource your social media management to free up more time for your marketing manager to spend on improving strategy? Could you outsource your HR function and remove employee relations tasks from your own desk? Maybe you could use a personal assistant service to field the post, calls and emails you just don’t have time to pick up on?
Outsourcing will allow you to spend valuable time on equally valuable tasks whilst being safe in the knowledge the other tasks are in hand.
Retain Your Values
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
The values of your company are what got you this far. They are why your employees have remained loyal to you, so through scale-up, remember why you started, the company culture and your values moving forward. Or else risk losing your most valuable asset, your employees. Never lose your integrity, continue to offer your customers value and reliability, meet deadlines and follow up. Gain customer loyalty and you will have a free marketing source that is highly valuable.
What experiences have you had while scaling up? Did you find it hard to stay true to your vision? What would you change if you did it again? Let us know by tweeting us via @LoveToDoMore
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