You’ve worked hard to get your business where it is, and maybe you’re okay staying small. But I encourage you to consider what your brand would look like if it did grow. Maybe you could afford to hire more employees, taking a lot of the workload and stress off of your own back. Maybe you could offer more products or solutions to your customers. Maybe growing would help you establish yourself as a dominant leader in your industry.
Whatever goals you have for your business, growth is the fastest way to achieve them.
Why Scaling is a Solid Growth Strategy
Now, I’m not suggesting that tomorrow you go hire five sales reps and an assistant, sign a five-year office lease, or double your inventory. Instead, I recommend that you scale your growth over time.
Scaling means slowly and deliberately growing your brand. As it makes sense, ramp up your efforts and make smart investments.
Even if you don’t think you need to get bigger, consider that, depending on what industry you’re in, the “little guy down the street” that you’ve been competing with is getting gobbled up by large corporations, and now you have to work twice as hard to compete with the same “small business,” now that they’ve got serious marketing dollars behind them.
And if you’re on board with growing your business but unsure that scaling (slow and steady) is the best way to do it, consider how many businesses have fizzled out before they had a chance to fit their boots. They were buying $400 office chairs and promising orders 5x the size of what they could handle without having money in hand. Just look at any number of examples of the Oprah Effect gone wrong: tiny businesses like Greenberg Smoked Turkey who are simply not prepared for a flood of orders, technologically or inventory-wise.
If you want to be ready and waiting for the next big opportunity (and hey, I’m with you, hoping Oprah will call), you have to have a plan in place for that rapid growth.
Areas to Pay Attention to for Scaling Success
Just like you’d need a plan for any part of your business, scaling and growth requires its own strategy. You need to be able to answer questions like:
- Can our website handle extreme loads of traffic?
- How many products can we turn around in a day/week/month?
- How fast can we train new employees to accommodate heavy orders?
- What have we done wrong when order numbers have been high?
- How can we train customer service to facilitate more calls coming in?
- What sort of technology would we need to scale?
Having answers to these questions is the first part of your plan. If you will need to invest a large amount to get your company ready to grow, build a budget so that you spread those expenses out over time.
Start looking for technological solutions that will grow with you. If you’re using cloud storage and/or hosting (and you should be), make sure your company offers flexible pricing to let you get the power and speed you need should you get a flood of traffic to your site (after Oprah calls, right?).
Scaling successfully requires seeing the big picture and being patient in getting there. It’s your best way to grow your business over time without the growing pains.
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