You knew that starting a business was going to be hard, but maybe nobody told you scaling your business would be difficult too.
After successfully launching your startup, the next challenge is to take it the entire endeavour up a notch. In truth, most startups never manage to scale up, through repeated mistakes – including getting drowned by admin and after-sales work.
A number fail to systematise and streamline processes, with the result that it becomes harder to keep up with daily operations. The concept of scaling becomes a scary thought, rather than an exciting one.
The majority of founders are wanting their project to grow and take on a life of its own – you should run your business, not vice versa. Hub Australia, home to hundreds of growing startups and small businesses, have compiled tips to take down the things most often stopping businesses from scaling.
1. Attracting, hiring and retaining the right people
When a business is growing quickly, one of the biggest challenges is hiring additional staff to help with your growing workload.
With job seekers able to access job opportunities worldwide, and constantly compare roles, it has become more difficult to retain great talent. At the same time, this access to a global workforce is a benefit for your company too.
In order to attract great people into your team, and retain the ones you already have, you need to offer more than a competitive salary and attractive benefits package.
Culture is everything – you need to nurture a dynamic and collaborative company culture, making your employees enjoy coming to work and fostering the relationships they have there.
It may seem like an amount of initial effort, but a positive internal culture is priceless – and reflects well on your external business too.
Get to know your individual team members, provide them opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and show your appreciation for their contributions.
2. Learning to delegate
“An organization becomes bewildered rather than energized when it’s asked to do too much at once.”- Michael Hammer & James Champy, Reengineering The Corporation
Most entrepreneurs build and manage their business alone. They start as a one-person team, doing everything from decision making to planning to execution. As a result, they find it hard to let go and make the switch to delegating tasks to others.
It can sometimes take a while for business owners to recognise they aren’t better off doing everything on their own – in fact, it can be detrimental to the business, as well as the health and stress levels of the founder. Accept that you don’t need to handle everything alone anymore, but rather need to hire and train others to run day-to-day operations.
You will likely need to bring someone in to manage finance and other crucial decision-making processes later on.
Only when you delegate can you focus on key actions to grow your business, such as getting more clients and improving your service or product.
3. Accessing capital for growth
A growing business needs growing capital too, which is one of the trickiest parts of launching a new venture. Too often, startups struggle to get the right funding to jumpstart their growth – although there are many ways to get venture capital, there are also many SME’s vying for those funds.
Review and reassess your processes and business model as you start pitching for funding, and work with external teams or resources to perfect your pitch. Your number one goal is to prove that your business is viable and that it is moving in a great direction. Prospective investors will be ruthless in looking for weaknesses and you will only impress them by being completely prepared and polished,.
At Hub, we partner with experts in startup finances to provide small businesses with the support they need in this area.
On top of the many different external issues you will deal with, there is the ongoing challenge of managing paperwork. Time-consuming aspects of the business – bookkeeping and invoicing, for example – get in the way of revenue generating face time with your clients. Scaling your business also means that all of these smaller manual tasks will multiply.
Find ways to organise paperwork more efficiently, particularly by leveraging technology and taking advantage of tools and new software being introduced in the market. Using these effectively can help ease the burden of record keeping and other admin tasks.
Some great tools are Asana for project & task management, Yammer or Slack for internal team communications, and Xero for accounting.
5. Lack of expertise
It’s common to hear that a major roadblock for small business owners scaling up is that they simply don’t feel like they know enough about their specific business area or upcoming challenge, and don’t feel equipped to deal with it. This can easily snowball, and get overwhelming and difficult very quickly.
To overcome this, it’s important that small business owners attend training workshops (online and offline); research learning material; participate in mastermind and accountability support groups, and reach out to mentors and industry experts who can offer sound advice.
Hub creates programming specifically designed to help growing small businesses access peer to peer learning, mentoring, and industry expertise that they need to grow, as well as connect to a diverse network of businesses and specialists.
Here at Hub Australia, we love to see startups launch successfully and grow. Find out how a coworking environment helps new and seasoned entrepreneurs level up and grow their business. Book your tour today – a membership at Hub Australia could be the push you need!