In order to leave the company you’ve created, you need to grow it first. How do you scale to sell the business in the first place?
Growing a company comes with its accompanying growing pains. Orders can become obsolete, staff can wither away, miscommunication abounds, and manufacturing or deliveries can go awry–this leads to unhappy customers. Simple, manual processes may have worked when your company was small, but not that you’re a big company, and looking to become more expansive, you’ll be trying to stay afloat.
If you’re looking to scale, you need to prepare yourself and your company for success. This way you can grow without the worry of being needed again. You can fertilize the seeds that will then sprout and grow uninhibited. You’ll have the right funding, plans, systems, processes, technology, and partners. You’ll be able to exit successfully.
Scaling a business is necessary for all startups. It’s not just a fancy word that high-tech corporate people use, it’s a real meaningful term that keeps your business running and growing. Scaling means being able to handle the extra demand without losing profit. It means that you’ll be able to maximize profit with less man or womanpower.
Scaling also involves a new ability to respond. When you adapt to new practices and a changing industry, you’ll need to take into account the effects.
An expanding business needs a platform to hold it on. That’s where a substantial workforce comes in. This is the team building phase, where your team members are properly equipped to deal with large and small tasks. The tasks will become complex over time and grow in number, so you’ll need to find more people as you go along. You can hire recruiters to find the best people out there for the job.
In the growth period, you’ve probably already brought on extra staff. The balancing act then becomes how to run a tight ship while bringing on new experts. The best model is when you have a few professionals who really care at the top and who get things done.
It’s important as you grow to recognize that your business is not just there to make money but also to make money long term. How do you increase revenue and market share over time? While you acquire more attention and customers, you’re potentially earning more money and more customer loyalty. This can hold its own for a few years.
When it comes to scaling though, your focus becomes less so on revenue and more on how you’ll be able to stay in the game. What’s the competition and how do you stand out? How can you become an industry leader that people look up to? You do this by finding what makes you unique, not trying to be like anyone else, and really understanding who your customer is and what they want. They’re your best PR people.
Making changes to workflow comes with the territory as you begin to take on more clients and the orders pile up. Efficiency is key here as you will need to delegate more tasks out and promote some team members to pick up the slack and act as guides for others.
Scaling is also optimizing your workflow as well as seeing the long-term goal and the big picture. How can you maximize productivity without minimizing profit or employee satisfaction? Your team needs to be on the same page and care about the company as well as see its own value inside it.
To scale effectively, you’ll need the proper team, the proper tools, and the proper communication map to have everyone on the same boat, even if they’re not physically on the same boat, ie remote workers. Let’s dig in.
It’s simple: Build to sell your company.
Continuing with the ship metaphors here, successful scaling efforts are beyond the average business plan. It’s also your special skills that you can bust out when you’re feeling invincible. You and your team need to have the proper outlook on your trajectory to fully grow. It’s not just you who’s in your business, it’s your crew members, too. They make the boat function and get from point A to point B. They can either do it with a smile on their face or give up when the weather gets tough. No coasting here, folks. Meet your team:
Efficient yet empathetic, detailed yet proactive, your support team is your ally when it comes to customer service. They’re essentially the face of the company. They’ll need to understand what the customer wants and needs, and even anticipate their wants and needs. They’ll need to be accessible, ideally 24/7, and from any channel–phone, email, chat, etc.
Your IT systems are going to need to be strong and supportive in the back end and the front end. Get the best experts on the scene to install new software and hardware. When customers or employees are dealing with tech issues, these IT warriors will come out and fix them fast to avoid customer dissatisfaction or productivity.
It’s what comes from all the work behind the scenes: marketing, PR, and sales. This is what you need to promote your brand to continue to push sales. This will continue to drive your revenue which will continue to keep your boat afloat. A great marketing and sales team is truly valuable. Especially salespeople who can find leads and close deals with reliability and efficiency.
Having enough money is really crucial to keep your boat running. Business operations come down to this solid question: Do you have the cash? Scaling doesn’t need to take on huge investments, but it does need to be able to cover costs. Securing funding and maintaining it can include taking out business loans, lines of credit, and business credit cards.
You’re leaving your company, but before you do you need to envision the big picture. Where do you see your business down the line? What’s your target revenue? How much market share do you want?
Your endgame scenario is your lighthouse at the end of the sea. Make a plan and decide on what to do when you cash out. Have a clear vision for yourself and your partners.