The only way to scale successfully is for your business to not be completely dependent on you.
If your business relies on you 24/7, if you’re micromanaging everything or worse if you’re not outsourcing the stuff you’re bad at, it will take you a lot longer to reach your business’ growth goals… if you’re lucky to reach them at all.
Based on my experience of running three successful businesses, these are my six tips on scaling successfully for start-ups:
1. Document and systemise the core business processes
We all work in busy environments, and start-ups are definitely no exception.
The most important two questions you can ask yourself amongst the madness is “Do I need to be doing this?” and “How can I systemise this so that someone else can?”
Keep the core focus of your business clear and at the forefront of your mind, and ensure that everything you do aligns to achieving it. If it doesn’t align, then why bother doing it?
Once you are sure that the process aligns to your core function, start thinking about what needs to happen to pass it on to someone without your background knowledge.
2. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle
I know, you’re a perfectionist and want things that represent your business to be of the highest quality, but it’s time to let go!
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of wanting things absolutely complete before they’re rolled out. Remember, as long as it works, it’s successful.
If that template needs some tweaking, if the database could look slicker just take the leap and get it in process. Worry about that last 20 per cent later on in a continuous improvement cycle, once it’s in use and doing its job.
You’ll be in a better place to assess feedback and could even find a better idea!
3. Embrace self-promotion
Everyone loves modesty right? But if you’re the face of your business, start acting like it.
Most businesses have begun because the founder has a particular skill and it’s not usually self-promotion. The sooner you can become comfortable with expressing what you do in a way that shines a light on your business, and to grab any promotional opportunity with both hands, the quicker you will grow.
It’s a great idea to get some advice from a professional PR advisor, log onto Sourcebottle to find opportunities yourself or at least use your networks to help build your reputation.
4. Watch your dollars
Yes, it’s boring (unless you’re an accountant!) but financial reporting is crucial.
Many start-ups work off ‘gut feel’ or a ‘sense’ of how things are going. Not enough can be said for structured, regular reporting mechanisms to put the real situation in front of you, to enable strong decision making.
The bonus? If you set up reporting that feels ‘bigger’ than you need, you’ll grow into it… and eventually realise that you made a great decision early on. Extra points for you, as your investors will love you, and you can report to your team in a timely, easy manner – win!
5. Surround yourself with good people
It’s obvious right? Choosing your team will set you up to grow… or fail.
Not enough can be said for choosing a team which can not only grow with you, but who are fundamentally committed to your vision and growth strategy.
Having people around you to buy into your dream and keep it on track is invaluable. Hiring people who have the right attitude, aspirations and communication skills is crucial.
It’s easy to grow when you have a team who start out with the right attitude – the skills themselves and specific roles can come later, but the right team with bucket-loads of buy-in will set you on the path to success.
Not everyone is a whiz with writing content, counting beans, or decorating office space -recognise your not-so-strong points, and get in an expert help to fill the gaps.
There’s no point spending hundreds of hours working in areas that you aren’t that great at when your time can be better spent systemising the business, or building your client base and reputation – recognise this, and enlist help.
Not sure where to turn? Networks are irreplaceable and can offer great recommendations for tried and tested experts in the specific field you need.
(Image source: Bigstock)
Jo Schneider is a serial entrepreneur and has featured numerous times in BRW, SMH, Sky News and The Age and has an Honourable Mention in Anthill’s ‘30 under 30’. She runs DVE Business Solutions and Animal Therapeutics Online.