Scaling a local startup can be quite the challenge. Here are some tips to help grow your small business in a sustainable manner.
Editorâ€™s Note: This post was submitted by guest blogger, Roxy James. Enjoy!
Scaling is a daunting proposition, but it is a risk you’ve got to take if you want to grow your startup and make it sustainable. It’ll require lots of planning to take your small business to the next level andÂ Â become one of the 51% that survive the 5-year mark. For those who are considering growing their local small business the seven tips below will be of help.
Make sure you’re ready for your big move
Make sure youâ€™re absolutely ready to scale. To do this, online businessÂ Â systems strategist Katya Sarmiento suggests you check for red flags first, such as largely inconsistent income and lack of growth. When your small business isnâ€™t bringing in steady income, then it isnâ€™t time to scale yet. In the same way, you shouldnâ€™t be scaling when you arenâ€™t consistently increasing your income and client base. Even a reluctance to automate is a red flag.
Solve cash concerns creatively
To fund your growth,Â Â entrepreneur Tim Ferriss recommends getting creativeÂ Â Â Â when it comes to cash concerns. You have a multitude of options like crowdfunding, forging joint ventures with fellow startups or established businesses, and financing your invoices. You can also create a new revenue stream, or even secure a business loan. Get creative and figure out which cash raising tactic would suit your business the best.
Build a great team
As you scale, youâ€™ll likely need more manpower.Â Â But as The Balance article â€˜How to Scale a Businessâ€™ points out, that can be challenging, since finding and keeping qualified staff can prove difficult. It is even harder if your line of business requires specialized skills, since there will likely be an initial scarcity of qualified candidates. As such, you might have to train new hires, or you can hire freelancers, an option we discussed already inÂ Â our ‘Why Some Smart Startups Donâ€™t Need to Hire Employees’ post. Hard as it is, you must strive to form a great team that will help propel your small business forward.
Automate or outsource where possible
Automating and outsourcing are crucial to scaling effectively. By automating and outsourcing where possible, youâ€™ll effectively streamline most of your processes. A rule of thumb: Outsource what you canâ€™t automate. Some processes you can automate are billing and payroll. Design and copywriting, on the other hand, are processes you can easily outsource to freelancers. Bear in mind that only the most essential roles in your business must stay in-house. All others ought to be delegated to machines or to external contractors.
Explore office options
Getting an office address gives your business credibility, as it makes your business look stable and invested in the community. Unfortunately, renting out offices can be pricey. One solution is to take out a membership in a co-working space. These work locations can be found in every major city in the U.S., and are perfect for establishing an environment to meet clients and have team meetings.
Another benefit is that co-working companies operate in more than one city, so if you find one that is good for your business, when you visit another city you will know what you are getting. For example,Â Â co-working operator Industrious has eight spaces in Chicago, which are part of the companyâ€™s network across 50+ U.S. cities. Sticking to one company will save you time and money compared to finding a new space every time you hop to another city. Signing up to a co-working space will not only give you an office address, but also access to great-for-work amenities, like comfortable workspaces and conference rooms, at a fraction of the cost. There’s even a good chance that you’ll rub elbows with potential partners or clients. So, start looking for that space now.
Exercise restraint in key areas
Scaling can be an exciting time. But itâ€™s no excuse to go all gung-ho. Instead, be deliberate and exercise restraint, especially in hiring and spending. Remember, you donâ€™t need to hire a lot of people off the bat. For the most part, a few hires here and there will suffice already. Just as important, donâ€™t undo your creative fundraising efforts with needless spending, and spend only for things that are completely necessary to grow your business.
Stick to your roots
Lastly,Â Â startup consultant Sarah Daren reminds growing businesses to stick to their roots. In other words, stay true to what made your startup successful in the first place. Too often, companies deviate from their core identity once they start to grow, causing loss of quality and direction, as well as clients. Always make sure everything you roll out reflects the core of your brand.
Use these seven tips to scale your small business in a sustainable way that sets you up for continued growth and success.