Written for EO by Christina Sanders
You’ve started a business, and it’s taking off. It’s a great feeling.
Now, the next hurdle is quickly heading your way: scaling. Taking your business to the next level can be a challenge—but only if you’re not prepared for it.
Here are a few lessons that I learned from scaling my own business, plus advice on avoiding the obstacles I experienced.
1. You Need a Plan
“I want to scale my business” isn’t a plan. To scale successfully, you need a specific list of goals and tactics.
Those goals should be reasonable and measurable (think SMART), and the tactics need to be customized to your business. For example, I was able to expand my business by creating a stronger presence on LinkedIn.
That might not work for you.
Take time to lay out a plan that’s well-thought-out and well-researched. You’ll save a ton of time in the long run.
2. Resources Don’t Manage Themselves
While you’re planning your scaling tactics, make sure to keep your schedules, resources, and files organized. You’ll need to coordinate more employees, keep more projects and tasks aligned, and find a way to manage an ever-increasing amount of marketing materials.
Invest in the tools to keep everything organized earlier rather than later. It’s a lot easier to establish superior organization practices before you grow. Investments like project management software, a marketing resource management system, and an effective customer relationship management (CRM) program go a long way.
3. Identify a Source for Funding
Scaling your business typically is not cheap. Determine if you’ll be hiring employees, increasing production, or investing in software.
Yes, you’ll be able to pay for these things when you start bringing in more money. But most of that needs to happen before you scale, not after.
That means you need to bring in capital. Will you get a business loan? Pursue funding? Put up your own cash? Any of those will work. But you need to set your plan and your goals for profit and paying off any loans.
4. Focus on Your Customers
If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re scaling your business, you’ve clearly made a habit of delighting your customers.
Don’t lose sight of that.
It’s easy to get too focused on your business when you’re scaling. Remember that, without exception, successful businesses are customer-focused. It’s not about your financial goals or your growth roadmap—it’s about how well you’re meeting the needs of your customers.
Customer focus is what drives business success, and scaling is no exception.
5. Invest in Employees
Your employees drive your business. They’re the beginning and end of your scaling process.
There’s a reason that big companies offer amazing perks and great pay—because they know their employees are the key to their continued growth and success.
Find the money to make certain your employees are happy with their pay and involve them in the scaling process. They’re an invaluable resource.
Scaling your business is exciting—but don’t let that excitement get the better of you. Start with a solid plan and build from there. You’ll be glad you did.
Christina Sanders is a marketing expert with nearly a decade of experience in digital marketing and communications. She is currently an associate manager at Lucidpress, a design and brand management platform. Connect with Christina on Twitter or LinkedIn.