This post will help you Prep & Execute – Scaling your Startup so that it will be as painless as possible.
Scaling your Startup: Viable, Boost Marketing, Automate, Social Media, Out-Source, Hiring, Self-Sufficient
Assuming that you’ve successfully started a startup. Scalability is the ability of a startup to grow. Or, to put it more precisely, a scalable business can adapt to a larger workload without compromising performance or losing revenue. Can your business with little or no annual revenue grow to a million dollar company? If it’s scalable, then yes. Here’s how you can prepare for Scaling your Startup.
1. Are you “viable” for Scaling? Before you even worry about scaling your startup, make sure your fundamentals are fool proof. According to the Startup Genom’s survey of 3200+ startups, 74% of failures can be explained by pre-mature scaling. So make sure you’re covered for the following:
- make sure your “core” product line reaches “market fit”. You can make gradual improvements thru product iterations based on user feedback & data.
- determine your largest users.
- pick Marketing Channels with the biggest ROI & Scaling potential by testing with smaller budgets first.
- verify you have the Resources to scale. Seek additional round of funding, if necessary. You can’t worry about profitability while scaling, and the last thing you want is to run out of money.
- If you started an E-commerce site, make sure you take the time to get the basics right before scaling.
2. Boost Marketing. How can a business scale if no one knows about it? Focus on marketing, and scalability will follow. But not every form of marketing is scalable. According to Forbes “direct marketing is…not scalable” and “word-of-mouth does not scale.” Content marketing, on the other hand, is one of the most scalable growth methods. Content marketing has evergreen value & viral potential, making it the growth-hack method of choice for most startups.
3. Automate “everything” you can. If you’re spending a long time “setting up” your business, then good for you. Set up:
- Cloud storage & organization…
- Training processes for new hires…
- Marketing automation…
- Payroll for rapid processing…
- Bill paying for automatic withdrawals.
Even though it takes a long time on the front end, this activity will pay for itself in the long term. You’ll be able to access data faster, hire faster, market better, pay easier + streamline operations for a truly scalable model.
4. Monitor your Social Media. Every new startup is in the public eye. Whatever happens on social media will be seen by the world. It’s important in your startup days to watch your social media carefully. New startups can’t afford to take a major PR hit with a social media flap. Scalability is about surviving until you are strong, as much as it is about growing. If you hit a PR fiasco, you’re limiting your chance of survival & scalability.
5. Out-Source all Non-Essentials. Startups can’t afford that luxury of a big staff. But you want to be strong enough to grow, so you’ll need to out-source all non-essential roles. You just need to focus on what you’re good at and out-source the rest. This lean approach allows a startup to break into the big time. When you’re nailing it with your core competencies, you’re ready for Scaling your Startup.
6. Hire the right people. A business is scalable, only when it has the right people on board. First, though, you have to hire only the people that are absolutely necessary to the operation. Here are some of the key characteristics of a team member who will help you scale:
- They can do what no one else in the company cant. If you have a human doing something that a machine or SW can do, then you’re wasting human effort. A startup needs to automate everything that it can, in order to maximize the output of human team members.
- They are full of good ideas. You can’t put a dollar price on the value of a good idea. A great idea of one employee can more than pay for them.
- They have more than one skill. In the startup environment, one person might have to do three jobs. Hire people with multi skill sets, or skills that can be transferred from one task to another.
7. Self-Sufficient – Functioning without you. Your business is not only about you. In order to be truly scalable, your business should be able to function just fine without you. The way you put that into place is by deliberately shifting responsibility off your shoulders, or into the oversight of someone else – delegating. In addition, you should take deliberate absences (ie, vacations) so you can force your team to be independent. It may be a little bit humbling to come back from a few weeks of vacation and discover that the business is thriving without your being there. This is great. Your business is making money while you sleep, relax, or do anything else. (ie, time with family & friends) You’ve proven to yourself and to your team that the business isn’t tied to your presence or even your existence. You feel liberated. They feel empowered. The time is righ for Scaling your Startup.
Conclusion. Scalability is a mindset, too. Sure, you need to have the right processes, people, & plans. But you also need to think BiG to become big. Having a scalable business means that you are free to unleash your dreams, make a lot of money, and have fun doing it. Once you get your mind in the game, scalability becomes way easier.
Comments: What have you done to create a scalable business or do you know someone that has. Please share?
from INC Zine 18 Dec 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz