So your startup is on a solid path with steady growth. If your product or service is gaining ground and your customer base is expanding steadily, it is time to start thinking about bigger things: it is time to scale up.
Even though you may not welcome it, growing your company does require a good amount of framework and standardization. You’ll need more defined roles and job titles, which translates to a clearer hierarchy and greater adherence to processes.
Scaling up a startup can be a complex task, especially for those used to the easygoing yet hands-on approach of a small business. Here are a few tips to help you through the process and increase the speed at which your company grows.
1. Always interact
Once you have gained traction in your network and on social media, it’s important to keep the ball rolling. You need to be consistent in your presence, both online and off. That means regularly posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media, attending meet and greets and constantly communicating with others in the industry to keep your business fresh in their minds and have your eye on the latest developments.
2. Be consistent with the content
Having a solid content strategy and sticking to your publishing schedule can greatly improve your audience reach. Be precise about when you are releasing a new blog, putting up social posts, getting out a podcast or posting an infographic. This will have visitors returning more frequently as they know that they can consistently expect useful or interesting information from you, building a fanbase and loyalty toward your brand. Use automation tools to help you with social media posting, reducing the effort and time your staff has to spend scheduling.
3. Divide your focus equally among clients
It’s never a good sign for your organisation if you are garnering the majority of your revenue from your association with one client. Clients can be temperamental – in worst case scenarios (which are not uncommon) one wrong move and you could be kicked to the curb. A broken contract can spell very bad news to a young business, such as layoffs or other ways of scaling down. Focus on attaining more clients and give them as much care and attention so that you aren’t left in the lurch if one of your big clients bails.
4. Build hierarchy, but don’t lose intimacy
An aspect that startup managers, who were at the helm from the beginning, pine for is the loss of closely interacting and being part of all the on-goings from day to day. To grow, you certainly cannot afford to waste your time micromanaging. At the same time, you don’t want to lose touch and communication with your teams. The best way to handle this challenge is to have expert and nimble teams that are small in size and completely focused on their area of skill. Smaller teams mean their members need to spend less time coordinating and can focus on the actual tasks at hand. They’re more accountable, easier to get updates from, and keep track of.
5. Get the right attitude
As your startup reaches the point where you need to make changes to scale up, it’s important to have a holistic view on what you would like from the future of your company. Don’t just go by the figures and numbers. Make sure you discuss and bounce ideas off your teammates. Share your vision with your employees to make sure everyone is moving forward in the same direction. Chances are you will need quite a few new hires, which can lead to teething problems among staff. Ensure that your new employees fit the bill and have the right attitude for the current climate of your startup. Make your existing employees feel valued and not sidelined by keeping them in the loop about future plans to the best of your ability.
6. Outsource extras
If there are tasks that are not directly related to your business, consider outsourcing them instead of struggling to meet those needs with appropriate talent and resources in-house. This is especially true for not-so-frequent needs. Let your staff focus on what they know best so that they aren’t going around in circles trying to figure new things out. The time and trouble you save from outsourcing will be far more beneficial than putting added strain on your employees, and likely losing precious time on miscellaneous tasks instead of actual business.
Scaling up your startup is an exciting journey filled with challenges and an equal amount of rewards and satisfaction. The key to consistent improvement is communication – be it accolades or criticism. Your team needs to know what is working and what needs to be fixed. With a few tips and a clear vision, social media is also a powerful platform to grow small business with smooth sailing.