Your business is successful, and even profitable. You are starting to see the benefits of your hard work. Growth has come naturally.
But anyone deeply rooted in the world of business knows that scaling is a whole different animal. Businesses have to approach scaling carefully, and with a confident stride, to ensure that it's not only the right time, but the right method for their business. Growth may have happened before you even knew what hit you, but scaling is not a matter of just "getting lucky".
There are several principles outlined by the experts like Ernst & Young, a world-dominant entrepreneurship mentor, that make the case for how businesses should scale.
Often, the prospect of scaling seems appealing at first until an executive team realizes just how many new employees they are going to have to hire.
The fun start-up now is turning into a corporate machine - it isn't what you pictured or maybe even wanted when you decided to scale, and now the sheer cost of hiring all of those people to get the work done is making the scaling seem far less worth it.
So is there an alternative?
Let's analyze a few of the important scaling principles from the perspective of avoiding the influx of hiring associated with scaling.
Importance of Image
Often, the comparison here is with Microsoft. While Microsoft has a strong image in the minds of both customers and the average consumer, the image of Bill Gates is much more easily defined. Through philanthropic efforts and an overall willingness to speak in the media, Gates developed a persona.
Well, those couple of things, and a Public Relations team that would outnumber the average participating country in the 2014 World Cup 2:1.
So are you going to hire a marketing and PR firm?
This is where the importance of automation comes in. Suddenly, the reality is that either by yourself or perhaps with one additional, highly knowledgeable person, new automation software allows social media, blogging, e-mails, and other campaigns to be automated and made simpler.
Being realistic, this concept is available to companies everywhere in so many aspects. For example - remove the paper processes that drive your organization forward by implementing workflow automation software.
Suddenly, the task of mail sorting becomes simpler because you are receiving forms and applications via the web. Filing is a non-existent task, as documents arrive electronically, are submitted as forms online and automatically cataloged, or are scanned and indexed immediately into a system. Electronic document management now becomes a huge tool saving time and money in the back office to provide added value in the front.
This frees up more time to allow you to work on your business, not in it. The details are important, but so many of them can be automated by software solutions. Spend your (and your employee's) time on tasks that add real value to the customer - this is what gives you the time and resources to develop a customer base that appreciates a person-to-person interaction with your people more than anyone else.
That relationship is what creates a business that is worth scaling in the first place. A business that customers can't live without.
A very small percentage of companies are self-funded through scaling opportunities, but in just one year's time, with the money that a process and workflow automation solution saves organizations, you might be able to reduce the borrowed amount you need to scale and implement the new measures to keep your business successful.
One of the worst outcomes to experience is scaling and regression. Companies will end up in a yo-yo cycle that is spawned by a desire to scale before they are ready. Have automation and rigid process control in place and ensure that the systems are functioning at peak performance before trying to take them into a larger-scale environment.