This is a contributor’s blogpost …
Thinking about scaling your business is exciting. The more the business grows, the more money it makes, and the more recognizable your brand becomes. But to actually scale a business effectively takes a lot of forethought and planning. It’s not something that you can just roll out of bed and do. Here are some of the challenges you’ll face along the way and how to fix them.
Trimming the Fat is Part of Scaling
As companies get bigger, they also tend to get more bloated. All that extra money coming in seems like a justification to spend more money on client entertainment, extra admin staff or an expensive canteen. But whether or not all that stuff is worth it is down to the idiosyncrasies of your business. That’s why it’s so important to continually check in with your costs and make sure that they’re not getting out of control.
The first thing to do is to make sure that all your departments are actually needed and, if so, in what capacity. Is there any point having a “business development” department, when you’ve already got a group of people doing outreach work? Probably not. Be skeptical of all your departments and roles within your company and cut out any unnecessary new hires.
Don’t Screw Up Your IT
Running the network for a small business is relatively easy. But scaling a network, as itWORKS! notes, can be tough indeed. One of the problems is the sheer amount of time and effort it takes to both run and maintain computer systems and IT services. Because they’re so complicated, there are constant maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
This is why so many businesses are moving to the cloud. Not only are the software services managed by somebody else, but they’re also able to scale in a granular way. If a company needs an extra gigabyte of data storage, they can just purchase it without having to pay a fortune for new servers or hard drives.
Focus On Building Long-Term Demand
Companies that scale without first building long-term demand can quickly fall flat on their faces. Simply marketing to customers and trying to win business that way is unlikely to be very effective. To really sustain a business model over the long term, there needs to be an underlying customer base. This means that you need to find ways to make repeat sales and appeal to a broad audience without relying on an army of salespeople.
Change Management Structure as You Get Bigger
The way you organize a company of fifty people is very different to the way you organize a company of 250 people. As you scale up, you encounter new problems and challenges which require different management structures.
In the early days, a relatively flat structure might have worked well in your company. But with a growing team of people and more and more independent opinions, flat structures tend to break down into chaos. Management becomes a heck of a lot more important.