Starting a business is one of the hardest parts of business success. Growing that business, however, is a close second.
Scaling requires investment in human resources, inventory, distribution, and marketing. All things that, as a small business owner, you feel you do not have the time and money for.
How then can your business, with the limited resources it has, scale effectively?
Here is our 4 step plan for scaling your business for future growth success.
1 Find Passionate People
The first and most important thing is to surround your venture with people who are as passionate about your business and its values as you are. This includes employees, board members, suppliers and early investors. Make sure all these people buy into your vision without a shadow of a doubt.
As a small business, there may be some services you need to outsource e.g. accounting and tax services. Ensure that you hire the services of a company that has experience with not only small businesses but growing businesses too.
Recruiting the right people is, above all else, the core to your company’s success. Find these people through events pertaining to your sector, through friends who share your passion, or hire an external recruitment agency who can do the screening for you.
2 Be Clear About What You’re Trying To Solve
If you’re trying to scale your company, make sure you are clear on the problem your company is trying to solve. What is the problem you’re aiming to fix? Being able to explain it clearly and quickly helps keep focus, while scaling helps attract and keep supporters.
Customers and supporters want to feel like they are part of the bigger picture. If they know what your brand stands for, and the problem you are attempting to fix, it is easy for them to get behind it.
For example, if you are an online travel agency, perhaps your problem/solution is this:
Problem: travel is expensive, therefore it’s not an option right now
Solve: negotiate travel packages that are affordable for your clients
3 Consider Hiring Interns For Those ‘Other’ Tasks
Hiring interns often get a bad rap. Some see it as exploitive i.e. free labour. But, we all have to start somewhere and, in most instances, it’s a win-win situation.
Acquiring the services of inexpensive, less experienced interns may be a company lifesaver during scaling when every cent counts. Instead of paying fat salaries to employees, hire young, energized and passionate interns who can be responsible for the small projects you have on your table. Not only do interns provide you with valuable staff muscle, they can also be the best kind of brand evangelists.
Another reason to consider hiring interns is that it gives you a guilt-free trial period. Getting rid of full time, underperforming employees is next level difficult in South Africa. Do it incorrectly and you’ll find yourself in violation of several regulations.
Interns come with fewer obligations. Not happy with the quality of their work? Then let them go. Did they impress the socks off of you? Then offer them a full-time contract.
4 Be Adaptive and Flexible
A big mistake small businesses make is not being agile. Change Ignorance is a real problem. Until you hit a stage where adoption of your product or service is substantial, do not be afraid to try new avenues.
Not everything is guaranteed to work, so don’t be afraid to ditch what isn’t working and adopt what is. Not only might it surprise you, but the results may help you decide what senior positions you need to appoint in the future.
Definitely go into your scaling process with a pre-determined path, but have a Path A, B, C and D. Follow changes in your industry and challenge yourself to see and try new things that may transform and grow your company in exciting ways.