If you’ve decided you want to grow your business, it’s important to understand how to do it effectively. You’ll need to have the right strategy, team and processes in place to be able to support new customers, products and services.
If you scale too fast or you lose focus, things could go very wrong. But with the right planning and considered goals, scaling your business could be a big success.
Is your business ready to scale?
First up, you need to assess whether your business is ready to scale and evaluate where your business stands today. Scaling up often exposes weaknesses in the business, so it’s important to think about how growing your business will affect your company. Consider whether your IT systems, general infrastructure and website meet your current and future needs or will you need to invest heavily before scaling?
Scaling a business means taking steps to ensure your business grows without sacrificing quality or increasing costs. If you’ve acquired a strong customer base, have a great team of skilled professionals and you’ve recently been turning away clients, now could be the perfect time to scale your business.
Steps to scaling your business
If you’re ready to get going, take a look at the steps below to help you get started:
Evaluate current position and plan for expansion
The first step is the planning stage. Think about what you need to do to increase sales and whether you currently have the staff and systems in place to handle new orders. It’s worth looking at competitors to see how they’ve done it. Find out how many staff they now have and understand their business model.
To help you, it’s a good idea to put together a detailed sales growth forecast, and break this down by the number of new customers, orders and revenue you hope to generate. It’s best to be as detailed and as specific as you can. After that, you want to do a similar expense forecast, looking at adding technology, people, infrastructure and systems so that you can handle the new orders. You need to think of how expenses will go up so that you’re prepared.
Find the money to fund your growth
If you’re likely to need finance to help you with your plans, such as a business loan, it’s worth checking your business credit score in advance. This will give you an indication of how likely you are to be accepted for business finance, as well as how competitive the interest rate will be. The better your credit score, the better your chances.
Alternatively, you might want to look at whether you qualify for any business grants, or whether you want to apply for peer-to-peer lending or equity crowdfunding.
Secure your sales
If you’re going to be selling more, you need to think about your sales structure. Consider whether you have a sufficient lead flow to generate the required number of leads and whether you have marketing systems in place to help you track these leads. You’ll also need sufficient sales representatives, a system that won’t collapse when sales orders increase, and a solid billing system to ensure invoices are processed on time.
Invest in technology and strategic partnerships
It’s also likely you will need to invest in technology as this will save you both time and money when it comes to scaling your business. If you invest well, many tasks can be automated, helping you to get things done faster and more efficiently at scale and giving your team more time to focus on other areas.
You might want to invest in technology that helps automate tasks such as accounting and payroll, customer relationship management, appointment scheduling, or project management, for example.
It’s worth comparing different technology partners to help with this. Consider factors such as usability, customer service, how quickly and easily you’ll be able to implement it, and how much it will cost.
Recruit or outsource
Next, you need to think about whether you want to expand your team and how you want to go about it. If you want to hire internally, you’ll need to think about how you’ll find qualified team members fast. Also consider whether you want to build a new organisational structure, with new levels of management or new departments to manage certain areas.
Bear in mind that recruiting might not always be the best answer. In some cases, it can be better to outsource tasks to get the best outcome and it can free up your time to focus on growing your business. You might even find that it works out cheaper as third parties might have the necessary staff and systems in place to make the process more efficient.
As part of the process of scaling your business, it’s important to prioritise sustainable growth. Don’t rush your decisions and be sure to approach challenges carefully so that you resolve issues with care, helping to support your company’s long-term growth. Steady, sustainable growth is generally better than rapid overexpansion.
Remember, too, that scaling a business is an ongoing process and you’ll need to track and monitor your progress along the way to ensure you stay in line with your goals and identify any issues as soon as possible.
How to secure funding to scale your business
When you scale your business, it’s likely you will need to secure funding to help you. There are several options you can consider as outlined below:
- Business loan: With a business loan, you receive a lump sum of money which is paid back in monthly instalments over a set term. Interest is added on top.
- Peer-to-peer lending: This is a type of business loan provided by a number of private investors, such as individuals, businesses or institutions. Lenders and borrowers usually get a better interest rate than they would through the traditional banks.
- Angel investor: Angel investors, or business angels, are individuals who are prepared to invest their own money into a business in return for a share of the company’s equity. They often have a wealth of experience too, so can offer their own skills, contacts and expertise to help your business succeed.
- Crowdfunding: If you raise fund through equity crowdfunding, you’ll need to source finance from a group of investors, through a crowdfunding website or platform. In exchange for their investment, these individuals get a share in the company.
You can compare a wide range of funding options right here at Swoop. If you’re not sure which one is best for you, the team of experts at Swoop will be happy to talk through your options and help you find the best solution for you and your business.