Starting up and running a business can often be a daunting prospect for some entrepreneurs starting out their journey as a business founder. But after settling into their new role and the initial hurdles have turned into the everyday norm, the entrepreneur will begin to think about the next big step in scaling up their company. Business owners can be apprehensive and cautious around making this decision, but once reasonable growth has been achieved, they may feel like they’ve hit the ‘glass ceiling’ barrier and have no choice but to scale up.
A number of challenges can come with scaling up a business, often differentiating between the processes that are capable of scaling with it, from those that aren’t. As such, success doesn’t always come easily.
Luckily, the EFM Growth team is on hand to help support your company achieve a realistic and successful scale up. Much like you, each member of the Growth Partner team has experienced the inevitable highs and lows of starting, running and growing a business. To help achieve your scale up aspirations, the EFM Growth team has listed their top tips and advice for new business owners below:
Focus on what you want your business to look like
During the early stages of your scale up plan, never base decisions on where your business currently stands – base them on what you want the business to become. One of the first things that the growth team asks a scale up client is what type of company they want to become? Do you want to become a £1m a year turnover? £2m? £5m? £10m? It’s important to have a clear and defined outlook of your objectives before embarking on your growth journey. For example, the decisions you make as a £200k turnover company will be completely different to one that turns over £2m a year. So if you want your company to be a £2m business, start thinking and treating it like one.
Make sure your business is prepared for scale up
When your company starts down the path of scaling up, cracks may begin to appear in the framework of your business. If these weaknesses are left unchecked, you may not be able to fix them in time before your growth journey comes to a stand still. As the business owner, it’s critical that you prepare the business accordingly to ensure all areas are reinforced for your growth plans. Your plan could be held back by underlying problems in your company’s cash flow management, team performance, IT systems or even your own personal management of the business. Assess very carefully every possible outcome, both positive and negative, of how scaling up will ultimately affect your company in the long run and to see whether or not the business is truly ready for the next step.
Build a strong and trustworthy team
As you begin to scale your business up, you’re more than likely going to need more staff to help achieve your vision. It’s all well and good ensuring that your business is running well internally, but it means nothing without a robust workforce that will ultimately act as the backbone of the company. Now your relationship with the new recruits may not be as close as it was with previous team members, but they will soon come to realise the importance of your businesses aspirations and values.
It’s important to lead by example and create a culture and environment where people want to be and want to achieve. This will help to motivate and drive your team into working effectively and autonomously, allowing you as the business owner, to focus your time efficiently on other key business areas that require your attention.
Learn from the success of your competitors
This point is very similar to how rival sporting teams assess each other before a game. Assessing your opponents to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and work out how best to counter their tactics, is pretty standard for sports teams. The same can be said for business competitors. The concept of analysing your competitors, understanding what they are doing and adapting your growth strategy accordingly is just as relevant. Think about how your rivals got to the level they’re at. How have they succeeded? How many staff do they now have? Where are they selling and how? Understand and respect your competitor’s business model and learn from their success.
By researching your competitors, it’s a good way to find new opportunities in the sector you operate in. Your research can provide useful insight into what’s happening with both their customer market and the industry as a whole. Your findings can also show you different ways of operating and present untapped markets for your business.
Identify your growth barriers
Whilst brainstorming your scale up objectives, a crucial part of developing a strategy to scale up involves thinking about your possible barriers to achieving successful growth. It’s clear that barriers to growth exist. Small businesses face an obstacle course on their journey to growth, with barriers such as lack of funding, staff shortages, and red tape all blocking the path. Be honest and pragmatic.
What factors could thwart your growth ambitions? What can you do to address your weaknesses and the threats they could pose? Don’t ever assume you already know what the barriers are. Try to dig as deep as you can to gain as much information as you can before taking the decisive actions needed to resolve your problems. Even if it hurts a little to look at your company in a negative light, you need to do it if you want to stand the highest chance of boosting your businesses growth.
Are you looking to scale up your business? Do you need support? The EFM Growth team is here to help. Talk to our team today for your free 1 hour consultation meeting. Call 01582 516300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.