Nothing strikes fear in the heart of homeowners like problems with the foundation. One tiny crack spider-webs into a maelstrom of complicated — and expensive — problems. Suddenly, the house has lost half its value and the floors are so uneven that trip walking across the living room.
Just like homes, businesses need strong foundations. If business owners don't prepare to scale the business from the beginning, the first attempts at expansion will cause the proverbial floor to splinter underneath. However, your customer base will grow organically and business will flourish if a foundation for expansion has already been established.
Delegate Whenever Possible
If you worry about delegating tasks because you fear the responsible party will make a mistake and bring your business to its knees, you’re not alone. It's a common fear among entrepreneurs, but if you insist on handling everything yourself, you’ll be too busy running the company instead of growing the company.
Everyone wins when the business owner is able to delegate: the business owner, the employees, the customers, and the stakeholders. If you've surrounded yourself with people you trust, you should feel comfortable delegating tasks. Your job is to focus on nurturing relationships and retaining customers.
Implement Sustainable Processes
Before you adopt a new technology or create a new process, ask yourself whether it will remain effective and practical as you scale your business. Your home office, for instance, might prove sufficient for a small-scale consultancy, but you can't fit 500 employees in your living room.
Scalable solutions have built-in functionality for expansion. For instance, prepaid expense cards offer a sensible solution for businesses that give employees spending power. Instead of processing expense reports after the fact, you can control employee spending — from their access to funds to the retailers at which they can make purchases. More importantly, an expense management program is flexible enough so you don't have to change processes mid-growth.
Learn When to Outsource
A scalable business takes effort and energy to build, but you'll reap the rewards if you create a solid infrastructure that can grow with your business, whether you're implementing new technology or hiring new employees.
Find Your Tribe
If a company is to scale effectively, business owners have to make social connections — both with customers and with strategic partners. The myth of the lone-wolf entrepreneur who single-handedly conquers his or her industry is exactly that- a myth.
From the most junior employees to your financial advisors, the people in your professional life can ensure or disrupt your future success. If you start with a group of motivated, hardworking, talented individuals, you'll find that growth happens naturally.
Social media isn't just a breeding ground for memes and inspirational quotes. It's a legitimate networking tool to embrace if you want to scale your business. Leverage that channel to raise awareness for your business, generate and nurture leads, and keep your established customers updated on product launches and new features.