June 13, 2016 | 5-minute read (824 words)
So, you’ve launched your startup, and you've heard it’s time to scale up. What exactly does scale up mean?
Your ability to increase your revenue (while keeping costs low) is what investors mean when they tell you it’s time to scale up. It means you can adapt to an increased workload without compromising quality, performance or revenue.
In its simplest terms, scalability is your startups ability to grow. Because your ability to scale up is so important, we’re going to look at how to successfully scale a startup.
Fine Tune the Basics
Do you have all of your processes down? Have you worked out all of the bugs? If the answer is no, consider this part of your scaling up.
You want to be sure that your product or service is in its final stage and that you’ve made all the necessary modifications for it to fit your target market.
Research your market and the potential for growth. Know your target market and where your product is best suited for growth.
Ask yourself if you can handle the extra business? Do you have the funding you need? Do you have the right number of employees? Can you handle the increase in production?
Get Your Back-end in Order
As you look to scale, it’s a good time to automate your systems and get ready to handle the growth. Here are a few things to move on as you scale up:
- Fine tune your business plan.
- Automate your marketing.
- Set up your computer network.
- Decide on your organizational file system and set up cloud storage.
- Write your employee manual.
- Start hiring.
- Automate your payroll and set up bill pay for automatic withdrawals.
Hire the Right People
Your startup depends not only on your product and services, but on the team you hire to lead the ship.
Your first goal is to hire the most necessary people needed to scale your startup. Hiring the right people can mean the difference between success and failure.
Your goal is to hire the right people at the right time so you build a multi-faceted team capable of building and growing your startup.
What are you looking for in a team that can help you scale your startup? You are looking for people who have a different skill set than you, yet they should complement what you already have in place. Some positions to consider are:
- Chief Executive Officer – this person can lead decision-making and management of your startup.
- Chief Operating Officer – this person handles day-to-day operations
- Chief Financial Officer – this person manages all of your finances.
- Chief Marketing Officer – this person heads your product development and works on growth through marketing and sales.
Once you have your core team in place, you can think about outsourcing other jobs. As a startup, you want room to grow, so think about outsourcing non-essential roles. These might include your graphic designers, web developers, digital marketers, CPAs, lawyers and even your cleaning staff.
Set your scale up on fire with your core team and supplement it with your freelancers and contract workers.
Reassess Your Role
Another way to successfully scale a startup is to take a look at your own role in the company. In the beginning, you were involved in everything.
Now that you’re ready to scale up, take a step back and delegate some of your tasks to others. Utilize the strengths of others to grow your startup.
When reassessing your role, seek the advice of your trusted advisors. Include your board and your funders in this close group. Their guidance can be invaluable.
A study by Startup Genome found that 74% of business fail because they scaled up prematurely. It’s incredibly easy to think you’re ready to grow, and many startups try to grow too quickly.
Although, it’s not always the best idea to try and grow as quickly as possible. Consider growing outward before you grow upward. Consider what the founder of Qualtrics, Ryan Smith, said, “Nail it, then scale it.”
Growing outward means fine-tuning your products and services so you can replicate it for others. When you grow outward, you maintain control and have time to learn from your mistakes.
If you grow quickly upward and scale too fast, you are going to struggle to meet customer demand, especially if you haven’t worked out all the kinks.
Use the tips included in this article to guide you as you scale your startup, and work to expand outward before you reach for the sky.
Are you a new startup ready to scale up? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your finances, payroll, HR duties and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.
Image: Lindsay Henwood